Rutgers Landscape Architecture Club brings green living to urban New Brunswick parking spots
On Sept. 15, The Rutgers Landscape Architecture Club hosted its sixth annual “PARK(ing) Day,” a nationally recognized day that aims to turn urban spaces such as New Brunswick into serene relaxation spots.
In partnership with the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) of New Jersey, members of the club worked together to turn two street parking spots on Seminary Place on College Avenue into a parklet featuring yoga and meditation sessions led by professionals, Zumba dance lessons, arts and crafts activities, a bike maintenance station and live music for the public to enjoy.
The parklet was completely decorated with plants provided by Rutgers Gardens, and Carla Haynes from New Brunswick’s Garden of Healing Yoga and Wellness Center stopped by to assist in yoga and meditation sessions.
“It’s about challenging notions of what urban open space is,” said Esther Lim, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior and treasurer of the Rutgers Landscape Architecture Club. “Creatively transforming a parking spot is really important for Rutgers students to see.”
Originally the movement started in Los Angeles, the ASLA’s PARK(ing) Day concept has become an international celebration, with more than 11,000 installations having been created since 2005.
By developing an open green parklet that’s available to all in a typically crowded and polluted space, the ASLA’s mission with PARK(ing) Day is to promote new approaches to urban landscaping.
“We’ve been participating in PARK(ing) Day for about six years now, and everybody seems to get involved,” said Nicholas Tufaro, a county planner in Middlesex and trustee of ASLA of New Jersey, who helped coordinate the event. “It’s become very successful in promoting green space in urban areas, and PARKing Day has started a parklet movement in New Jersey towns such as Morristown and Montclair.”
While Rutgers is not new to hosting PARK(ing) Day, this was the University’s first time hosting it on the College Avenue campus, one of the most populated areas in Rutgers.
“We usually celebrate PARKing Day off-campus, but this time around, we wanted to reach students better,” said Nicole Cohen, president of the Rutgers Landscape Architecture Club and a senior in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “A lot of families have also stopped by, and it’s been a popular space for people to come get their bikes fixed.”
PARK(ing) Day began at 9 a.m with a yoga session. and ended at 5 p.m. on a fun note with a Zumba class. This event was a breath of fresh air on a campus typically surrounded by the hustle-and-bustle of New Brunswick traffic.
The Rutgers Landscape Architecture Club meets every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Blake Hall in room 148, and all are welcome to contribute to next year’s PARK(ing) Day event.