PARK(ing) Day Brings Temporary Parks to Charlotte Neighborhoods

September 18, 2018 9:37 am

On Friday, September 21, something strange will happen on the streets of Charlotte: Tiny parks will appear where hours before there was only asphalt. Like Cinderella’s carriage, the pop-up parks will last until the clock strikes 6:00 p.m., when they will melt back into the parking spaces you see every day.

Why? It’s all for PARK(ing) Day, a one-day demonstration aimed to inspire conversation and new thinking about how we use public space in urban areas.

The concept started in San Francisco in 2005, when art and design studio REBAR rolled up to a parking meter, paid it, and rolled out some green turf. With a park bench, a single tree, some bollards and an optimistic attitude, REBAR transformed an asphalt parking space into a tiny car-sized public park—for two hours. It was intended as a simple “what-if” demonstration, but photos of the pop-up park went viral and REBAR was soon flooded with questions about replicating the park. PARK(ing) Day was born.

PARK(ing) Day is now an open-source event coordinated by the American Society of Landscape Architects. In Charlotte, the effort is organized by Charlotte Center City Partners, the Charlotte chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and Urban Design Partners. All of the pop-up parks are permitted by Charlotte’s Department of Transportation through the City’s new Parklet Program.

On Friday, September 21, 20 different design teams will adopt parking spots in three neighborhoods: on Camden Road in South End, North Davidson in NoDa, and Pecan Avenue in Plaza Midwood. Transformations will begin at 6:00 a.m. and parklets will be open for enjoyment between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Plaza parklets will close at 5 p.m.)

Charlotte has more than 3,300 miles of public streets—more street than you’d travel to drive from here to Seattle! Streets are our single greatest publicly-owned asset, and yet they are fairly inhospitable unless you are sitting inside a car. The idea of Park(ing) Day is to allow a little bit of experimentation to see if we can make our streets a more pleasant and welcoming place to be.

Check out the list of locations and design firms below, and make plans to visit South End, NoDa and Plaza Midwood on September 21 for a little bit of what-if magic.

2018 PARK(ing) Day in Charlotte

South End: Camden Road between Park Avenue and Kingston Avenue

NoDa: North Davidson Street between 34th & 35th Streets

Plaza Midwood