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Transportation

Tiny Parks Spur Conversation About Cars And Urban Land Use

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

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  • Visitors to Parking Day could add to a wish list for Houston
    Visitors to Parking Day could add to a wish list for Houston
  • parking day 10
    parking day 10
  • "The Pollinators" designed a space intended to be an extension of the nearby Buffalo Bayou green space.
    "The Pollinators" designed a space intended to be an extension of the nearby Buffalo Bayou green space.
  • A tiny house was assembled on site in a downtown Houston parking space.
    A tiny house was assembled on site in a downtown Houston parking space.
  • One of the downtown parklets featured a chalk board where visitors could add to a wish list for Houston
    One of the downtown parklets featured a chalk board where visitors could add to a wish list for Houston
  • Greenery was a big feature in many of the reimagined downtown parking spaces.
    Greenery was a big feature in many of the reimagined downtown parking spaces.
  • Groups found new uses for parking spaces around Houston's Chase Tower, the tallest building in Texas.
    Groups found new uses for parking spaces around Houston's Chase Tower, the tallest building in Texas.
  • A tiny house was one of the attractions at PARK(ing) Day in downtown Houston.
    A tiny house was one of the attractions at PARK(ing) Day in downtown Houston.
  • As part of Parking Day in downtown Houston, one group built a tiny house in a parking space.
    As part of Parking Day in downtown Houston, one group built a tiny house in a parking space.
  • One Parking Day display encouraged visitors to check out the downtown skyline.
    One Parking Day display encouraged visitors to check out the downtown skyline.

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

Gail Delaughter

News Anchor

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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