Transportation

Tiny Parks Spur Conversation About Cars And Urban Land Use

PARK(ing) Day is an event held in cities around the world.

It was an unusual scene in downtown Houston as several parking spots were transformed into tiny parks. The event was designed to get people to think about how urban space is used to accommodate vehicles.

Just outside Chase Tower, a spot where a car usually sits was filled with colorful plants to attract bees. It was the work of a group that called themselves The Pollinators. Landscape architect Kerri Da Silva says they hoped visitors would look at the space as an extension of the nearby Buffalo Bayou Greenway.

“You just try to think about having that uninterrupted wildlife corridor,” says Da Silva. “We’re trying, trying to do as much as we can.”

PARK(ing) Day is an event held in cities around the world, where people take spaces intended for vehicles and make them into “parklets,” places that people can use. A few spaces down, designer Jarka Pharis calls her creation a “void without cars.”

“And we thought if we just bring plants and trees and create a nice human-scale atmosphere for people to come in and pause, then we could certainly achieve it with this kind of display,” says Pharis.

Another parking space contained a tiny house that was assembled on site.

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Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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