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Environment / Sustainability

Students will create tiny downtown parks for PARK(ing) Day

September 19, 2012
by Coleman Cornelius

Students studying landscape architecture at Colorado State University will transform several automobile parking spots in Old Town, Fort Collins, into miniature public parks on Friday as part of an international design event called PARK(ing) Day.

PARK(ing) Day

PARK(ing) Day, begun in San Francisco in 2005, draws public attention to the vital role of public parks, and the ability of thoughtfully designed public spaces to enrich quality of life in communities worldwide. The little street-side parks are temporary – installed for only one day – yet designers hope their ideas about public space take hold permanently.

Student organizers inspiredDesign by Ben Canales and Shiva Solaimanian

The CSU student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects is spearheading PARK(ing) Day in Fort Collins for the first time. Student organizers were inspired by a campus visit from John Bela, a noted landscape architect in San Francisco, who started PARK(ing) Day seven years ago.

“PARK(ing) Day encourages people to take part in our community and the civic planning process, and to take your own place and responsibility in that planning process,” said Ben Canales, a CSU landscape architecture major and president of the student group.

Students participating in the event will work with about five parking spaces near the intersection of Mountain Avenue and Linden Street.

The student teams will begin installation of their design plans at about 8 a.m. The installations will remain intact until Friday evening.

'Address the needs of society'Design by Brian Horton and Cody Meyer

“Participating in PARK(ing) Day is important because it revolves around what a landscape architect does, which is address the needs of any given environment and also address the needs of society through thoughtful design and problem-solving,” said Canales, who is among about a dozen CSU students participating.

Kelly Curl, assistant professor of landscape architecture at CSU and faculty adviser to the student group, said it’s great to see students grasp ideas about sustainable public spaces – featuring fewer paved “hardscapes” and more plant-rich “softscapes” – and take action to proliferate those ideas in their own community.

“Our students got inspired,” Curl said. “This is a fantastic opportunity for students to bring concepts about parks to our town. I’m very excited to see where this will go.”

Only accredited undergraduate degree program

CSU offers the only accredited undergraduate degree program in landscape architecture in the Western states of Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects. The program is housed in the CSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, which recently added a master’s degree program in landscape architecture.