Thanks to everyone who helped make Park(ing) Day 2011 such a huge success in Louisville! On Friday, September 16, we transformed six parallel parking spots in the core of Louisville into pop-up parklets for the day (and a seventh on-street bike parking spot!) and invited the public to join us in reevaluating how we’re utilizing our limited public resources across the city. With help from the Broken Sidewalk community, each of the pop-up parklets was unique ranging from an urban farm (above) to a zen-inspired folk art park to a model city to a hammock park!
At the Urban Design Studio, a small urban farm sprouted tomatoes and lettuce in raised beds while the public relaxed on bales of straw nearby. Fruit trees, a composter, and information on sustainable agriculture and the farm-to-table movement rounded out the parklet. Nearby on Fourth Street, we rolled out some sod to create a lush parklet filled with flowers and even a burlap shade-canopy.
CART, the Coalition for the Advancement of Regional Transportation, invited the public to “play city” farther north on Fourth Street and built a model city in the street! Buildings made of cardboard boxes donned green roofs, bridges spanned a chalk river, and a public transportation system was initiated. Not to be outdone, Bicycling for Louisville set up shop on Main Street at Slugger Field with an array of tropical plants and a corn hole set. Of course, a competition ensued throughout the day!
On West Main Street, a carpet of straw and wood chips was rolled out at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft inspired by art and zen. Grape vines and ferns added greenery, a zen sand garden aided in making the space meditative, and the museum filled the street with folk art! Snakes (the wooden variety) writhed over one half of the parklet while a martini-sipping frog joined the humans in the seating area. A more mod display was found on East Market Street at The Green Building, where astroturf-covered pavement was home to a hammock park.
Special thanks go to everyone who helped put on Park(ing) Day this year, from the park designers who answered our call for ideas, to the nearly 20 volunteers throughout the day. Bunton’s Seed donated park materials including straw bales, lettuce, grape vines, cranberries, and even an apple tree! Plant Kingdom donated ferns and loaned us a bright blue rain barrel to help spread the word about rain gardens and rainwater management. Fresh Start Growers’ Supply also loaned us two trees for the day.
Bicycling for Louisville and CART helped us to move much of the parklet material by bike. I counted three bike trailers loaded with plants and park-building supplies. When the day was done, we donated our extra landscaping material to Brightside, where it will be used to further beautify Downtown.
Check out these amazing photos taken throughout Park(ing) Day 2011! Can we make this even bigger next year?
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
This year you/we showed we could handle the logistics and safety issues. With that under our belts, next year we should promote this even more to the rank & file in planning, engineering, and officialdom. Every aide to a metro council member should recieve a personal invitation. Everybody in Public Works should know about it. Smoke KYTC5 and KIPDA out of their underground lairs and get them down here for a look.
Also, I think putting the locations closer together bears consideration. With a lunch hour, visit them all, on foot?