This year, for the first time, DDG took part in the annual PARK(ing) Day event organized in downtown Baltimore by the AIA Baltimore. PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. The mission is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat. The project began in 2005 when design studio, Rebar, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, this temporary one day act has evolved into a global movement with annual participation from over 35 countries and more than 162 cities.
Our design, inspired by the The Book Thing of Baltimore and the Bay, recreated a little piece of the Chesapeake, complete with boat, beach sand and free books. The mission of The Book Thing of Baltimore, is to put unwanted books in the hands of those who want them. For the day our space, staffed by a couple DDG team members, became a free drop-off / pick-up zone for any and all books. We were in great company in Mt. Vernon surrounded by 16 other exhibits from local organizations and businesses. As no gathering is a true success without food and entertainment, Mt. Vernon was full of food trucks, movie screenings and other festivities throughout the day.
Installations went up all around Baltimore this year, including Inner Harbor, Hampden, and in Towson. “While PARK(ing) Day may be temporary,” says John Bela, a Rebar principal, “the image of possibility it offers has lasting effects and is shifting the way streets are perceived and utilized.” In that spirit our small urban oasis was packed up and had re-emerged for a week in our office to continue the book exchange amongst everyone at DDG.