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Parking spaces in Puerto Rico and around the globe to be temporarily reclaimed for people

San Juan, Puerto Rico, September 21, 2012 — In cities around the globe today, artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of the annual event PARK(ing) Day.

Originally created in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure.

“In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution,” says Rebar’s Matthew Passmore. “The planning strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the urban landscape.”

Locally, the Association of Landscape Architecture Students (aLAs) of the School of Landscape Architecture at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (UPPR) celebrated PARK(ing) DAY PUERTO RICO, for the fourth consecutive year, on Ashford avenue in Condado, between the Presbyterian Hospital and Hotel La Concha. This year, the UPPR School of Architecture, the University Of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus School Of Architecture, the Puerto Rico School of Plastic Arts, and the Ramón José Dávila High School of Coamo also gathered in Condado.

From bike racks and mini golf to beds and hammocks, there was a little bit of everything during the celebration of PARK(ing) DAY PUERTO RICO 2012 in Condado. The Association of Landscape Architecture Students (aLAs) developed a generous urbanism installation in the form of a fenced garden, from which they gave the driving and pedestrian public potted plants, cupcakes and water bottles. The UPPR School of Landscape Architecture, in turn, developed another generous urbanism installation inspired in the concept of peace. In this space, carpeted in white paper and flanked by white helium balloons, they gave away oxeye daisies to the passers. The students from Prof. Cecile Molina Machargo’s basics of three-dimensional creations class from the Puerto Rico School of Fine Arts became 18 living sculptures. Using the institution’s palette, students occupied several spaces on the Ashford Avenue sidewalk to arouse curiosity from pedestrians and thus promote the Institution’s arts programs. The architecture workshop ‘Creando sin Encargos’, formed by professors and architects in training Yazmín Crespo, Omayra Rivera and Andrea Bauzá, developed a bazaar with free books and BBQ for the attending public. Gardens, sports fields, dance floors and puzzles where but a few of the installations created by Prof. Griselle Hernández’s students from the Ramón José Dávila High School in Coamo.  On the other hand, the UPPR School of Architecture developed a facility with several hammocks and origami pieces, while the Puerto Rico School of Fine Arts designed a bed with wooden palettes and pillows tailored and designed by the students

“We are pleased to, once again, be the organizers of this important worldwide event here in Puerto Rico,” said Marisabel Rodriguez, ASLA, Director of the UPPR School of Landscape Architecture. “The celebration of the PARK (ing) DAY PUERTO RICO 2012 event is part of a series of activities to which we have joined, or have organized, in order to focus attention on the field of landscape architecture as one of the new green and ecological industries, as well as means of artistic expression, that seeks to influence the quality of life in Puerto Rico.”

Since 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2011 included more than 800 “PARK” installations in more than 180 cities in 30 countries on six continents. The event is disseminated simultaneously through digital media and social networks, like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, under the official event hashtag: #parkingday. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe.

PARK(ing) Day is an “open-source” user-generated invention created by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to champion creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their local urban conditions. More information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities can be found at http://polipaisaje.wordpress.com along with a global map of all participating cities on the PARK(ing) Day website, at www.parkingday.org.

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