Knoxville’s Park(ing) Day
WHAT IS PARK(ING) DAY?
Park(ing) Day began with the need for space, some drawings on a napkin, and a big idea.
Rebar was looking for niche spaces in San Francisco, leading them to the idea of using parking spaces. They “determined that at the curbside meter rates, a parking space was an incredibly cheap piece of San Francisco real estate.” Thus creating the first Park(ing) Day in 2005 with several ideas for different parking spaces.
Four years later, Rebar and its new partners were approached with a task- create a “permanent version” of a park in a parking spot. However, that name was quickly changed to what it’s still known as today- a “parklet.” That is, a park in the street.
The idea of a “parklet” took the world by storm! Soon after its creation, various cities around the world took on the idea, creating National Park(ing) Day. Keeping the original mission of Park(ing) Day in mind, this event continues to grow each year.
National Park(ing) Day’s mission is “to call attention to the need for more urban open space,
to generate critical debate around how public space is created, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat.”
Knoxville's Park(ing) Day
The City of Knoxville started their National Park(ing) Day journey in 2018. Taking a virtual year due to the pandemic, they brought the event back to the streets this year.
Accompanied by 10+ groups, Lakeshore Park Conservancy was one of many with a “parklet” on Gay Street. They brought part of the Park to Downtown Knoxville by recreating Marble Hall by hand.
The recreated Marble Hall was made of repurposed materials, including some of the old stone from the original chapel.
Knoxville’s Parking Day does facilitate an awards ceremony. The top three parklets and an honorable mention are awarded after being judged on the following criteria:
- Most Creative
- Use of Space
- Wow Factor
The Conservancy won an honorable mention award.
It was a wonderful sight seeing local companies/organizations come together to educate and interact with the community. A special thanks to all who are involved in Park(ing) Day- The City of Knoxville, Knoxville by Design (East TN Community Design Center, AIA, and American Society of Landscape Architect), Visit Knoxville, Pretentious Glass, and all those who participated!
Lakeshore Park Conservancy cannot wait to participate in National Park(ing) Day 2022!