2012 park(ing) day

the event

The converted parking stalls in front of The Imaginarium in the Old Market provided passersby with a place to sit, chat and enjoy the warm fall temperatures.

How do you transform an ordinary metered parking stall into an urban oasis?

Students in Steve Rodie’s Landscape and Environmental Appreciation class at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) did just that Sept. 21 in conjunction with the 2012 edition of PARK(ing) Day. Omaha by Design, the Omaha Downtown Improvement District Association (DID) and the Old Market Business Association teamed up to host the event.

PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event in which artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary downtown public park. Since then, it’s evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals – operating independently but following an established set of guidelines – creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

In Omaha, the students designed two parking spaces in front of The Imaginarium at 13th and Howard, a retail outlet featuring everything from antiques to handmade goods. Omaha by Design Director Connie Spellman and Joe Gudenrath, DID executive director, each viewed the event as an opportunity to get people thinking about how Omaha uses its public space and the importance of green space in an urban environment.

For the student designers, the project was an opportunity to take the concepts they’re learning in class and execute them in a very public and popular setting – Omaha’s Old Market.

Rodie said the Landscape and Environmental Appreciation class at UNO covers the basic design principles behind beautiful, functional, maintainable landscapes. “The students also learn about the behavioral and humanistic factors that make an urban landscape comfortable and appealing – a place that people really want to spend time in,” he noted. “The Old Market in general is a classic example of such an urban place, and the students used the parking spaces to help people understand why the Old Market is so successful – and how all public spaces in Omaha can benefit from integrating similar principles.”

For information on other 2012 PARK(ing) Day events around the globe, visit http://parkingday.org/.

the video

Here’s what you missed if you didn’t stop by:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EBWq22I5Yk&feature=youtu.be

the sponsors and contributors

Dave’s Keystone Landscaping

Imaginarium

Kinghorn Gardens

Old Market Business Association

Omaha by Design

Omaha Downtown Improvement District Association

Ruff Waters, Inc.

University of Nebraska at Omaha

University of Nebraska-Lincoln