Park[ing] Day strives to raise awareness

Some USC students are taking part in a long, ongoing effort in Los Angeles — making the city greener.

School of Architecture students will place a rolling grass hill installation next to Watt Hall tomorrow to take part in the fourth annual Park[ing] Day LA, a one-day event where parking spots are transformed into temporary green parks across Los Angeles.

Enoch Chow, coordinator of the Architecture Student Council, leads 16 architecture students who helped coordinate Park[ing] Day LA’s efforts at USC. This is the third year USC students participated in the event, two years of which Chow directed.

Day LA. – James Watson | Daily Trojan “]There will be a large-scale grass hill installation for sitting and lounging on parking spot 15 next to the Watt Hall. The installation represents a “symbolic message for sustainability by taking over the public sphere,” Chow said.

The fourth-annual Park[ing] Day LA will have students, artists and community volunteers occupying metered parking spaces on the streets and transforming them into pocket-parks at more than 25 locations across Los Angeles.

Chow said he wanted to give  undergraduate students a taste of what it is like to work in a design firm. Chow decided to divide the 16-person staff into three teams for design, management and construction. It is also the first time students from all years are participating in coordinating the installation, rather than only senior and grad students.

“Don’t be passive,” Chow said. “I want young students to take the initiative with projects outside the curriculum.”

Chow said he saw seniors with more experience collaborate with younger undergraduates to share advice and ideas on engineering, budgeting and time management during the coordination of this project.

“I would like to pass it on and make it a traditional legacy for architecture students,” Chow said. “I know that I can be there for the younger students.”

The older architecture majors were able to provide technical advice and mentorship to younger students of the same major, Chow said.

The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Volunteers will come together to embrace the slogan “parks, not parking.” In the previous PDLA event, residents transformed asphalt parking spaces into grass patches, vegetable stands, small gardens and beach chairs.

USC urban planning students, along with community groups, architectural firms, churches and neighborhood councils, will host parking spots throughout the day and transform the urban concrete landscape. The event is meant to spark interaction among students, designers, companies and city governments about the way streets currently are used, according the PDLA website.

Last year, merchants and LA residents occupied the streets with picket fences, bookshelves, speakers, fans and even Wi-Fi portals, he added.

David Lai, a freshman majoring in architecture, heard about the Park[ing] Day LA event from his friends in the School of Architecture.

“Seeing green spots in L.A. that are normally concrete really visually inspires us design students,” Lai said. He also said he is trying to get a few more students to join him in the event.

The organizers of the PDLA event were inspired by the Rebar group in San Francisco, which transformed metered parking spots into small parks to make a public comment on the lack of quality open space in U.S. cities, according to the PDLA website. A similar festival is held in Miami.