Earlier this month, the 16th annual Park(ing) Day took place across the country, transforming parking spots into public spaces. Landscape architects were encouraged to empower PreK-12 students to Dream Big and re-imagine streetscapes in front of schools, libraries, and community centers. The idea was to help students discover how to improve public spaces, strengthen social connections, and boost health and well-being.
Highlights from Park(ing) Day 2022 feature creative transformations and inventive alternatives to an automobile-dominated environment:
The ASLA Utah Chapter challenged third graders at Calvin S. Smith Elementary School to design a mini-park in place of two parking lots in front of their school (scroll through images at top). The chapter then incorporated the sketches into their parklet.
“It was an amazing experience to involve the kids. They are so talented and loved learning about landscape architecture and getting involved in the community,” said Aaron Johnson, ASLA, vice president of visibility and public affairs with the ASLA Utah Chapter. “A few of them came to see their work displayed at Park(ing) Day. They were very excited to show their designs to their parents.”
In Manhattan, Kansas, ASLA student members from Kansas State University partnered with a local public library to help kids learn about parks and landscape architecture.
ASLA student members from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, Nevada collaborated with Gene Ward Elementary School to introduce third grade students to landscape architecture.
In Brighton, Massachusetts, PreK-12 students from Boston Green Academy got to plant seeds, experiment with soils, and talk with landscape architects about urban heat, environmental justice, and the role of nature in cities thanks to the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.
ASLA New York teamed up with Futures Ignite and students at WHEELS PreK-12 to create a pop-up park as part of a block party in Washington Heights, New York City. Their space offered kids free plants and drawing opportunities. And ahead of Climate Week NYC, landscape architects educated the public on landscape architecture and climate and environmental issues.
“This is what a #schoolstreet should be every day,” wrote ASLA New York Trustee Jennifer Nitzky, ASLA, on Instagram. The kids were able to imagine the many benefits of using their streets for “fun, games, learning, and relaxing in green spaces.”
ASLA student members from Florida International University designed and built an ADA-compliant raised garden bed for their Park(ing) Day installation in Miami, Florida, later donating it to Neva King Cooper Educational Center.
And, lastly, landscape architecture students from the University of Georgia led the transformation of an alleyway in Athens, Georgia into a welcoming space for older students to gather for music and urban sketching.