Park(ing) Day, South Gay Street, Knoxville, September 2022
In a measure of how quickly one piece of news has been following another recently in downtown Knoxville, I’ve still not reported on Park(ing) Day, which was held over a month ago on Gay Street. Today I wanted to take a quick glimpse back to this great annual event which challenges us to consider the amount of space we dedicate to cars and how that space relates to other potential uses.
In 2018, first annual Park(ing) Day event for our city was held on Gay Street (you can see the photos here). The original event was held in San Francisco in 2005 with the aim of building small pocket parks in metered spaces for one day, to show how large they are in relation to many human activities. They take up quite a bit of living space, as you can see from the photographs included here.
This year’s event featured installations by a range of groups including a Barketecture display by Knox By Design. Their event includes a range of cool designs for dog houses and can be found at the link. The Canine homes will be auctioned to benefit Young Williams and you can make bids through October 16. Check out their cool designs and pick up a home for your pooch!
Young-Williams teamed up with MHM architects for a display and MUSE Knoxville had a cool honeycomb design on display. Their project emphasized the imperiled nature of honeybees and the important role they play in the larger web of life. It fits with an exhibit at Muse Knoxville and the honey comb was set to be installed there after use for Park(ing) Day.
Also spotted were KUB, Workspace Interiors, and A1 LabArts. A1 offered free portraits to passersby, adding a fun touch to the day.
Every year I wonder if this kind of set up might not be incorporated into First Friday, with Gay Street Closed to traffic for the night and groups or businesses given the option to expand into the parking spaces in a pedestrian corridor. It would make the street much more pleasant for everyone, while traffic work-arounds would be no different that when parades close the thoroughfare for a morning or evening.