Park(ing) Day brings awareness to land use

Students for Design Activism hosted the event promoting green design.

by Andre Eggert

A group of architecture students took over a metered parking space on Pillsbury Drive near Rapson Hall to promote green design Friday.
Students for Design Activism, a student group that formed earlier this year, hosted the first Park(ing) Day ever held on the University of Minnesota campus. Park(ing) Day, an international movement that started in San Francisco, is meant to take back space from parking and show alternative forms of land use.
Anna Lawrence, president of SDA, said reactions from people varied, but her favorite were from people in cars.
“Some have honked — we can take that either way,” Lawrence said.
She estimated around 50 people went to check out the overtaken parking spot where they socialized and learned about ecological function.
SDA set up a demonstration that showed runoff from various surfaces. During a storm, up to 18 gallons of runoff and sediment can be carried from concrete to natural sources, Lawrence said.
In an area with minimal plants and turf grass, that number is five gallons, while in a forest, runoff is typically less than a gallon, she said.
The campus kickoff of Park(ing) Day was a good way to get the young organization involved while showing environmental impact, she said.
“It’s cool to be involved with something that is happening all over the world,” Lawrence said.