Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

City car spaces go green for PARK(ing) Day

Brisbane Park(ing) Day 2010, mini-garden park in Queen Street Mall. Image: Zornitza Mintchev

Brisbane Park(ing) Day 2010, mini-garden park in Queen Street Mall. Photo: Zornitza Mintchev

Brisbane city car spaces were temporary transformed into mini-gardens for PARK(ing) Day, a global movement to demostrate lack of green space in cities.

The event, held globally on September 17, originates from San Francisco and seeks to promote sustainability and change in urban design.

Event organiser Amy Saunders assured participants and commuters there should be no reason for concern over the event.

“The PARKers use the car space just like a car driver would,” she said.

“They wait for an available space, move in to the space, pay the parking meter and stay for the allocated time.”

Ms Saunders was enthusiastic about the event despite the Brisbane City Council’s limited support.

“PARK(ing) Day has always attracted a positive response from a range of community groups and businesses,” she said.

“There has been a little ‘support’ from council in the past, however as an international movement and event the day [has been] tolerated by the council.

“They understand it will happen with or without their permission.”

A Brisbane City Council spokesperson said “[the council was] not sponsoring the event” but was providing financial support for two young people to participate in it.

Landscape architect Arno King said PARK(ing) Day is “well known amongst the built environment community” and is confident in the event’s effectiveness in promoting change.

“I think these events are very powerful,” he said.

“Many people have difficulty visioning what could happen or what the possibilities could be.

“These events encourage people to question the status quo and look at better alternatives.”

Bond University Associate Professor in urban design Ned Wales said many Australian cities still have strategic planning regulations requiring minimum number of car spaces no matter how close to public transport facilities.

“The concept of not owning a car is a little foreign to Australians in this day and age,” he said.

“The average number of cars per person over the last three decades has escalated considerably.

“So Brisbane has adopted the movement and is putting considerable energy into the event.”

Deicke Richards Architects have this year committed to permanently landscaping two of their car spaces.

“Each year we did the transformation, it encouraged us to think about making it more permanent,” Mr King said.

“I think if we had not taken part in PARK(ing) Day, we would still have our large concrete parking area out front.”