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What a wonderful PARK(ing) Day!

Last Friday, Christa, Julia and I organized a small BRITE event to take part in global PARK(ing) Day where hundreds of temporary mini parks were set up in actual parking spots or unused lots all around the world.
We were part of a bigger lot that used to be the old stomping ground where the Cha Cha, Bimbo's Burritos, and etc used to be. (On Pine between Summit & Belmont)
Now it's just an empty gravel lot, since after they tore down the whole block, the recession hit...
The PARK(ing) day as a day to give the community a reason to hang out there again....and we couldn't have asked for any better weather than that day.
The Negative Space field sketch was inspired from a walk that Julia, Dylan and I did awhile back in July when Thomas Sieverts lead a walked around Burien....yeah, that's right...Burien. Who would of thought anyone can spend that much time there just wondering around, right? But after 2 hours of walking around, we left with thoughts and questions about other neighborhoods, and realized really how little we know and notice on a everyday basis....and inspirations to do other walks such as this. We wanted to take the opportunity of the PARK(ing) Day to get people to slow down and take a look at the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Especially in an area that has so much history, people, various types of businesses, and landscape, this neighborhood has gone through some major changes in the last 5 years (and still in process of). Some more controversial than others. While many of these issues have been presented as the good locals vs. evil developers, there has been many great positive improvements such as the Cal Anderson park where it has quickly became a common landmark for most residence/students/professional in the neighborhood to hangout.*So how have all the changes effected everyone's connection and perception about the area....are they positive/negative? neither/both?

*With each change that happens, how has it effected one's knowledge, perceptions, memories, feelings, and their use of a certain area? (i.e. excavating of the old Cha Cha lot vs. the creation of Cal Anderson park)

*How do each of those elements tie in to the way we associate with a place?...whether it be 4 block radius, a neighborhood, the city, or the entire country.

*How do we, as an individual make a place more pleasant for yourself...and if possible, for others?

People participated on different levels depending on the time allowed. Many came by to say hello or during their lunch breaks draw up some quick cognitive memory maps of what they know about the area. Here's a whole line of the hung up. For those who had more time, we then gave them each a special "biographical field sketch book" as they went on a self-guided walk jotting down what they noticed.Constance' conclusion: Pay Attention. (Constance came back and admitted that she spent half the walk looking for her car trying to feed the meter and got even more turned around)Jonhathan's Field Sketch: Great old buildings. (as an architect, he appreciates the old charming buildings of Capitol Hill)My findings: Great mix of pattern & texture that reminded me of Italy.
(I went on a walk myself and wondered around for 45min taking notes as well as photos. It was nice to just walk without having to get to any was as if I was visiting Capitol Hill for the first time.)

We even got some young BRITE participants! How cute!
Below are some other great mini-parks on the lot that day:
Below is an "Air" Park
A giant connect four, a table to make some art, Flash Volunteer, and a ping-pong table.

For the fact that it was a working day, the turnout was more than we had anticipated. We were just happy to see people out and about and actually showing support. Granted we couldn't get people to start the walk all at the same time, it was still a good trial run and learning experience nonetheless. We hope that we can do this on a time of the day so more people can attend in the future and perhaps even do other less popular neighborhood walks like Int'l District, First Hill, Judkin's Park, Lake City...and many many more!)

Check out the Flickr set for more photos of the event and people's field sketch notes!
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Keith said...

great write-up; i'm glad you all came out and am happy you had such a good turnout!

Dinah said...

I love that you did this--it is so great to look at and think about our surroundings pretending that we've never seen them before!