Friday, September 21, 2007

Doin' It In The Park...

Over 40 street parking spaces - from Van Nuys to Long Beach, Westwood to Pasadena - will be converted into temporary parkspaces on Friday as part of Park(ing) Day L.A., an event described as a "grassroots effort reclaiming public space in our streets." Numerous operatives of the Militant informed him that the purpose of the event, which started a couple years ago in Frisco, was to create a dialogue on the use of urban public space, being that more space in our cities have been devoted to automobiles than to people. The Militant was so sold on this when he first heard about it from community-minded operatives that he attended some meetings held in very secret Militant-style quarters to gain more information and insight on this event. The Militant has been quite active in the creation of an unspecified number of these 42+ parks and has been devoting some of his time recently to some Militant-style strategic confabs regarding this very Militant operation.

Public space is important to Los Angeles as any potential open space is being (or has already been) gobbled up by developers and even the Los Angeles Unified School District (who in their infinite bureaucratic wisdom, claim their school sites can be potential open spaces for surrounding communities - shyyyeahfuggingright - like a kid who spends 35 hours a week on the school grounds would really want to spend their weekend there). The Militant doesn't mind the densification of Los Angeles, though blind densification without any regard to creating or improving infrastructure -- be it utilities, transportation or recreation -- doesn't make for good planning, nor happy urban inhabitants. Even for the developers' sake: They're not gonna make much money if people ultimately don't find these developments desirable places to live or shop.

Though affluent NIMBYS and members of the cranky, rotting GHP clamor for more parking lots and facilities (specifically so people won't park in their streets), they neglect to realize that cities were meant for humans, not cars (though they might have a point, as the Militant doesn't consider affluent NIMBYs nor GHP-types to be full-fledged human beings anyway). One of the Militant's operatives said it best: "We have homeless people, but there are no homeless cars."

The Park(ing) Day L.A. website has some interesting (and thought-provoking) statistics and factoids on ticker-tape scroll at the top of its page, pointing out some very stark socioeconomic disparities with regard to various demographic groups and their access to open space. No, Hollywood can't become a bunch of farms and ranches anymore, but we can has sum parkz.

So check out the map on the Park(ing) Day L.A. site and drop by the park (or parks) nearest to you (the majority of them are (M)etro-accessible). Maybe even spend your lunch hour there if you can. Support these guerrilla urban planners who are doin' it , not just here in Los Angeles, but in places like Frisco, NYC, Washington D.C., Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Miami and others - and worldwide in places like London, Berlin, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Melbourne and more.

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