Students create green space in lot

Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown

The Landscape Architecture Club turned three spaces of The Union parking lot into an eco-friendly environment with grass, trees, flowers and park amenities on Sept. 18.

“It’s actually in celebration of International PARKing Day,” said Shannon Fischer, a junior landscape architecture major who participated in the decoration of the lot. “It’s a global movement that is being done all over the world to promote implementing green space into parking lots.”

PARKing Day was started in San Francisco, Calif., in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio.

Last year, more than 500 “PARKs” were implemented into parking lots in 100 cities on four different continents.

Different Brookings businesses donated the plants that were used to decorate the parking spaces. Both Lowe’s and McCrory Gardens donated plants and sod to the Landscape Architecture Club.

“We actually didn’t decide to do this until about 3 (p.m.) the day before,” said Fischer. “It was spur of the moment, and we turned it into something really cool.”

Matt James, professor and adviser for the Landscape Architecture Club, said the purpose of PARKing Day is to promote “incorporating landscape into parking lots.

“We understand that we can’t get rid of parking lots altogether, but we hope to preserve green and implement it into parking lots,” said Fischer. “Things like adding tree bumpers are actually a great way to make lots better.”

Other than making parking lots more attractive with landscaping, adding green also adds legitimate improvements into parking, the group said.

“Parking lots aren’t permeable,” said James. “Adding landscaping can help save storm water drainage.”

The Landscape Architecture Club said they believe that parking lots

take up so much space and could be put to much better use through adding green space.

“These landscape architecture students could give you many ways to implement landscape into lots,” said Martin Maca, professor in the landscape design department and associate director of McCrory Gardens. “It can really make the parking lot more aesthetically pleasing.”

The Landscape Architecture Department had some of their students help get the spaces’ landscaping together. They used it as a class project, as well as simply wanting to participate in PARKing Day.

“This was a really good way to get our point across in a passive way,” said Maca.

“It’s basically just friendly activism,” James said.

Because the Landscape Architecture Club decided to do this on short notice, they did have issues with The Union staff on whether or not they could put up their landscaping in The Union spaces.

“We assumed that because our group members possess at least three parking passes, we thought that it would be okay to take up three spaces with this,” said Maca. “Next year, we will just do it a little differently.”

Jennifer Novotny, Union director, said that although she thinks it is a good cause, they should go through the right channels next year.

“It’s a great cause, and we would really love to support it in the following years,” Novotny said. “But in the future if they let us know ahead of time, it can be more effective, and we could make it into a bigger deal.”