Shortly after my last post I received a call from a local Councilor who said that he shared our concerns with the parking problems at Ravenswood primary school. We had promising meeting and hopefully will be working together to get something sorted. I provided him with a copy of a presentation about our work and methods which he seems to like.
If you have any ideas or would like to offer any help then please leave a comment, hit us on twitter or email us at email@example.com. Here is the presentation:
You may remember about our plans for a garden outside Ravenswood primary school in Ipswich to stop damage to the verges there. We are now working with the officials to see if we can do something and initially the local police officers from the safer neighborhood team were very supportive, however when we were ready to start there was then a problem and it seemed that additional permission from certain officials. We want to try to work with the authorities on this one so we will need to wait for an answer and get on with other work for the time being.
Here is what the area looks like at school pickup time which was co-incidentally the moment that the Google Streetview car drove past. There are cars all along the verge and in the bus stop:
A temporary park created during (Re)Parking Day (photo Tom Hilton)
There seems to be growing interest in the USA in ‘microparks’, ‘parklets and ‘NoParks’ which are small parks created from parking bays and also in places sections of street where no one should park. Authorities are creating these small green space in San Francisco, New York and Buffalo (NoParks are created opposite fire hydrants in New York where no one should park a car anyway).
In addition to these official and permanent parks ‘(re)Parking Day‘ each September encourages the creation of more and more temporary single-car sizes parks from of conventional parking bays in more and more places. In 2009 700 parks were created in 140 cities around the world in 21 countries.
What all these initiatives have in common though is their challenge to the acres of space in urban centres with is currently allocated for the storage of private vehicles and re-purposing them to healthy green spaces.
A virtually empty car park right up against an ancient church!
The waterfront in Ipswich is separated from the town center by a pair of major roads (the Star Lane Gyratory) and a number of ugly surface-level waste-ground car parks which have been crudely flung together from very rough and unattractive materials.
Rough hoardings which have been there for years
They were created in response to the familiar cry ‘there is not enough parking’ which became hysterical just before Christmas 2009 when the Crown St car park was closed following structural problems. However… these waterfront car parks are very poorly used with most drivers preferring to queue for the car parks in the town center.
Another virtually empty car park
They are close to a number of significant historical structures, including Wolsey’s Gate and also to St Peter’s church and to St Mary’s church and could form attractive areas linking the town and the waterfront.
Runner beans doing well!
So… we decided to brighten them up and make them a little more attractive. For starters we have been doing some planting and have more plans for the near future. The beans that we planted a couple of weeks ago to attract the attention of the public have started to grow. There are about 6 inches tall already thanks to the rain and it wont be long before they are climbing up the bars of the fence.
We are choosing the perfect spot for a next veggie patch. The waterfront is ideal because amongst all the construction, finished developments and car parks there is very little plant life which we are going to try to change.
The Jeunes Agriculteurs (Young Farmers) union attracted 2 million people to the Champs-Elysees in Paris, France during a weekend in May 2010 by transforming it into lush fields bursting with crops. They did it to raise awareness of the agriculture sector but it also demonstrated that we can used our city centres in a different way when we evict the cars. These following pictures are taken from in the middle of the road looking towards the Arc de Triomphe.
Photographs courtesy of Perry Tak
Photographs courtesy of Perry Tak
This is the normal view of the road as a dual 5 lane road full of polluting traffic – notice how inefficiently it is being used – there are actually only a relatively small number of vehicles, and therefor people, dominating a huge area.
The Champs-Elysees on a normal day. copyright image
The organisers are hoping to take the concept around the world so hopefully we will see them in Trafalgar Square soon!
I’m still working on our first event which is going to be a garden project. The date is still be arranged but I thought I’d add the poster for the event to give an idea of whats going to happen.