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Reviving Wasted Pavement

Wednesday, October 12, 2016  
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How should we use public space in downtown cores? What is the social role of parks? What form can community action take?

Carolina Angles sat down with environmental studies and city planning student Caroline Lindquist, a senior undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, to find out. We discuss the parklet she and her friends designed, built, and enjoyed on September 16th, known fondly by guerrilla urbanists throughout as “PARK(ing) Day”.

Angles: What is PARK(ing) Day?

Caroline Lindquist: PARK(ing) Day is an “annual open-source global event” where citizens transform parking spaces into temporary public spaces or parklets for the day. The event began in 2005 in San Francisco with a design studio called Rebar, that created its own parklet for a day. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is “to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated.”

A: How did you set up the park? Did you need permission to use the space?

CL: To build the Chapel Hill parklet, we gathered our group of friends who studied sustainable community design through the Burch Study Abroad Seminar in Spain and Germany in 2015. We all brought different items from our houses such as carpets, plants, chairs, sofas, tables, anything that we thought could help make a fun public space. We then bought two big rolls of astroturf and rolled them out to lay the groundwork for the parklet (because what’s a park without some green?) After arranging basic seating, we drew a checkerboard on the pavement with chalk and added a little putt-putt green to encourage activity in the space.

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