Graduate students in the Master of Landscape Architecture program at the University of Arizona’s College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture continued their annual tradition of leading Tucson’s Park(ing) Day.
This year, members of the American Society of Landscape Architecture UArizona student chapter partnered with the American Institute of Architects Southern Arizona to temporarily repurpose parking spaces on downtown Tucson’s Congress Street—between Scott and Stone Avenues—as a “pop-up” parklet.
“Park(ing) Day was a great experience as students were able to collaborate with CAPLA alumni and spread the word about Park(ing) Day to people walking by,” says Selenne Yescas ’24 MLA, co-president of the ASLA student chapter. “Many people were impressed with the temporary pocket park and said that they would love to have areas to rest under trees and less hot surfaces to walk their pups on. Another takeaway is that as landscape architects, we play a huge role in designing outdoor spaces and it is important to collaborate with an interdisciplinary team that includes architects, engineers, hydrologists, public health officials, environmentalists and more.”
In addition to Yescas, participating MLA students included Blake Houghton ’23, Blake Caldera ’24, Waverly Brown ’24, Will Glockner ’24, Nadia Sarneyzehdoost ’24 and Olivia Gilliam ’25.
Started in 2005 by San Francisco’s urban design collective Rebar, Park(ing) Day is a global public participatory project that advocates for safer, greener and more equitable streets by reclaiming parking spaces.
This year, students partnered with AIA Southern Arizona to produce the event. Sponsors included University of Arizona Athletics, which contributed remnant pieces of the old turf from Arizona Stadium when it was replaced this spring; Tucson Electric Power, which provided trees to give away; Goodmans, which provided urban seating and furniture; and Civano Nursery, which contributed plants for the space; as well as Barker Contracting, Spatial Impact Group, Tucson 2030 District, YWCA Southern Arizona and Swaim Associates Architects.
The event, which was held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, September 16, 2022, also hosted visits by the U.S. Forest Service’s Smoky Bear and a gopher tortoise courtesy of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
“We are building a community space for everyone… an opportunity for all to engage in the ongoing dialog around how cities are developed, designed and built,” says Elaine W. Becherer, president of Spatial Impact Group, who partnered with the students to coordinate this year’s Park(ing) Day. “We must continue to reimagine how our built environment can support the many facets of economic development.”
Learn more about the global Park(ing) Day movement, explore the University of Arizona Master of Landscape Architecture degree or learn more about partnering with CAPLA on community initiatives through the Drachman Institute.
Park(ing) Day 2022 Tucson Photo Gallery
Photos courtesy Ellen Worth and Selenne Yescas.