College of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Institute of Applied Agriculture

PARK(ing) Day: UMD’s Transportation Transformation

AGNR students and staff came together to encourage green spaces in parking spaces via the PARK(ing) Day initiative.
Author: 
Rachael Keeney
Students and staff gather in parking spaces in front of Cole Field House amongst a temporary public health garden and the Green Tidings food truck.
Image Credit: 
Christina Lorenz

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, September 19th, the six parking spaces in front of Cole Field House underwent a very unique kind of construction.

While the rest of Campus Drive was preparing to embrace the Metro’s Purple Line, the field house parking spaces were looking to do just the opposite. Rather than aid in the university’s urbanization, students and staff from the Department of Landscape Architecture, Office of Sustainability, and the Student Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (SASLA), created temporary public parks in those metered spaces, bringing the PARK(ing) Day initiative to UMD once again. 

“Our message is simple,” said Evan Constantine, a senior landscape architecture major and president of SASLA. “This initiative is meant to illustrate the potential of the amount of space which is [set aside for]…parking. This event is also meant to encourage more green spaces throughout our urban environment.”

Though PARK(ing) Day began in 2005 with the San Francisco art and design studio, Rebar, creating a temporary downtown public park out of a highly coveted parking space, this is only the second year that UMD has participated in PARK(ing) Day.

 “We laid sod and sedum as well set up plants in order to create a small garden,” Constantine added. “Tables and chairs and a small patio allowed people to relax and enjoy a green space in the middle of this concrete jungle.”

PARK(ing) Day has now grown globally and while there are certainly rules and expectations, different organizations and individuals have created green space according to their community’s wants and needs.  Some past project examples that the PARK(ing) Day website mentions range from free health clinics and planted temporary urban farms to built art installations and even a wedding ceremony.

One such original creation was brought about by an instructor at the Institute of Applied Agriculture (IAA) Ken Ingram. Ingram’s “We Are Golf” project, funded through the Pepsi grant program, strives to demonstrate the benefits of golf and turf grass via a public forum on campus.

“Our group built a little putting green, landscaped it nicely, and handed out some information about the benefits of golf, golf courses, and turf grass to the economy and the environment,” Ingram said.

Other contributors of UMD’s transportation transformation were The Arboretum Outreach Center, UMD PLANET, DOTS, Facilities Management, Green Tidings, Sempergreen, Furbish, and Sustainable Life Designs.

“Our campus is making great strides in the upcoming years with the incorporation of the purple line [as] this will encourage use of public transit and make campus more walk able,” Constantine noted. “[Therefore] I hope that [people] continue to see how great of an initiative this is and continue to participate and educate.”

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