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Celebrate PARK(ing) Day 2020 on September 18

ASLA California Sierra Chapter parklet from PARK(ing) Day 2019 | Photo by Joe DiGiorgio

PARK(ing) Day is the annual event that encourages landscape architects, students, ASLA chapters, and all those concerned about the quality of the public realm to reimagine our urban streetscapes one metered parking space at a time. The creative transformation of parking spaces into parklets and inventive alternatives to our automobile-dominated environment is normally a one-day event, demonstrating a reimagined future for city streets.

But the future is already here.

In a sense, every day in 2020 is PARK(ing) Day, as communities across the country and around the world are forced to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic by rethinking the public realm. In hundreds of cities, curbside space is being repurposed for dining, commerce, or recreation. Cars have been banned and streets turned over to pedestrians and bike riders. Restaurants and shops are responding to the need for social distancing and concerns about indoor environments by moving tables or displays into the street.

Whether some call the concept Open Streets or just necessity being the mother of invention, the act of reimagining streets is fundamentally landscape architecture. The pandemic has forced a rethinking of how we use, design, and relate to streetscapes and public environments, now and in a post-pandemic future, and the profession is at the center of it.

[Check out the Local Actions to Support Walking and Cycling during Social Distancing Dataset created by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center to see how hundreds of communities worldwide are adapting to changing demands on public space in response to COVID-19.]


PARK(ing) Day 2020 is the perfect time to bring fresh ideas and the landscape architect’s skill to the streetscapes already being altered in response to the pandemic—and that may remain in place well past the current emergency.

This year’s PARK(ing) Day challenge is to explore the design of imaginative curbside spaces for restaurants, businesses, recreation, and other public uses that adhere to safe, socially distant principles—all within the confines of a parking space (or two).

Your PARK(ing) Day Challenge … There are three ways to participate:

  • Take photos of existing repurposed streetside spaces and streetscapes in your community that reflect good design principles and share them. Be sure to include the designer’s name if you know it.
  • Build out a traditional PARK(ing) Day space that is a model for reimagined curbside activity.
  • Or draw, sketch, or build a model of a virtual solution that demonstrates how in this time of crisis, and later in the post-pandemic world, streets (with the help of landscape architects) can be transformed. Traditional PARK(ing) Day spaces are fun and creative, and of course the virtual versions can be, too.

Then, on September 18, post your images on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #ASLAParkingDay and #ReimagineStreets. And be sure to say how your idea could impact your community’s response to the pandemic—and beyond—and how landscape architects can take the lead.

Participants should be mindful about issues related to racial justice and equity in their projects and social media messaging. Some of these issues are explored in “Safe Streets Are Not Safe for Black Lives” by Dr. Destiny Thomas.

We’ll compile the posts and select the best of the best among real and imaginary designs from student, firm, and chapter submissions and highlight them across ASLA’s national communications platforms. Good luck and have fun (safely, of course)!

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