Founded by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, Park(ing) Day’s goal is to raise awareness for the need for green spaces in urban environments. Philadelphia celebrated its own Park(ing) Day for the first time in 2008 with over 25 installations for relaxing, cycling, creating art, education, and socializing.
In 2011, there were over 30 nonprofit institutions, community development organizations, academic institutions, and private companies that created temporary parks for Philadelphia’s Park(ing) Day. Parks were created in Center City as well as in Manayunk, Southwest Philadelphia, Mount Airy, Northern Liberties, and University City.
In its third year, members of the The North Fifth Street Revitalization Project, celebrated Park(ing) Day by giving out blue recycling bins to residents of the Olney community for free. In order to receive a bin, residents only had to fill out a survey concerning their thoughts on the Olney business district.
“I would say the primary goal of today’s event was to conduct community outreach,” Philip Green, interim director of NFSRP, said. “We really want to create activities on North Fifth Street that get people out, get people excited about the shopping district and bring foot traffic to the area. We really see Fifth Street as Olney’s main street.”
Parking spaces throughout Philadelphia received a makeover of sorts in celebration of the annual event. Park(ing)Day celebrates parks and other public areas in cities around the nation, seeking to raise awareness of for the need of more pedestrian friendly spaces in urban areas.
Green sees Fifth Street as Olney’s “melting pot” where people from all different kind of backgrounds can come together and become signified as a better community.
“I love Olney. I think it’s beautiful,” Linda Dawson, a resident of Olney, said of the Park(ing) Day event. “I was on my way to the jeweler and I happen to see the recycling bins. I thought, oh that’s good, free bins.”
Green added that when NFRP hold events like Park(ing) Day, it just makes the people in Olney all the more excited to support their local economy.
“We did give away 70 blue bins today and if people are recycling it means that they are doing something good for the environment,” Green said. It means that they’re just not throwing things on the ground and if people have blue bins it means that they can participate in the city’s recycling program.”