UT College of Architecture and Design hosts parking day event

A student-built Checkerboard allows for passersby to take each other in a quick game.

The UT College of Architecture and Design hosted their first annual PARK(ing) Day in Market Square on Sept. 19  in an attempt to get the Knoxville community to reconsider how they view public spaces.

A bench designed into a shape of a car by student's at the College of Architecture and Design
A bench designed into a shape of a car by student’s at the College of Architecture and Design

For PARK(ing) Day, the college took control of a metered parking spot across from the Urban Outfitters in Market Square and redesigned it as a mini-park for the day. The spot was decorated with fake grass, a bench shaped like a car and a large checkers set.

The goal of the day is to “take a place otherwise used for parked cars and instead make a spot for people to use as a dwelling place,” said Matt Culver, a faculty member at the College of Architecture and Design.

PARK(ing) Day was founded in San Francisco, California in 2005, but since then has grown to over 162 cities worldwide, always taking place on the third Friday of September and is hosted by different groups in each city. Although this is PARK(ing) Day’s first year in Knoxville, the organizers in the College of Architecture and Design are hopeful that this completely student-designed project will help start a conversation about mass travel and public spaces at and around UT.

One of those students who helped in the design of the parking spot is Barry Adcock, an undergrad at the School of Architecture. For him, this project is about “subtle activism” with long term, big-picture goals of “reducing our carbon footprint” and “increasing our enjoyment of life.”

Barry typically rides his bike into class and although he admits that not using a car does have its own inconveniences, he feels that the benefits of not using a parking spot in the downtown area is definitely worth the trouble of biking to school and hopes that events like these will encourage others to do the same.

If you’re interested in finding out more information about PARK(ing) Day, click here.

Edited by Ryan McGill 

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