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PARK(ing) Day: Redesigning Manchester – one parking space at a time!

news release

On Friday 16th September, Manchester Friends of the Earth is inviting people to join with citizens in cities around the world who will be temporarily transforming metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of international “PARK(ing) Day”[1].
This year, Manchester Friends of the Earth members will be redesigning car parking spaces in Manchester city centre into picnic parks complete with “grass”, plants, deckchairs, morning & afternoon tea, cupcakes and sparkling conversation.

The event is aimed at encouraging people to imagine how much better our cities could be if they had fewer spaces for cars and more room for people. The group will be in good company: the 2010 PARK(ing) Day included over 800 installations in more than 180 cities on six continents.

Over the last fifty years our cities have been developed to make more and more space for the car. Supermarkets and malls, with massive car parks, have often overpowered local businesses in city locations. At the same time our streets have become noisy, polluted and unpleasant. [2]  These policies have high costs in terms of air pollution, congestion and health.[3]  PARK(ing) Day highlights the need to make our streets more attractive for residents and visitors, and improve the environment for businesses.

Catherine Thomson, Manchester Friends of the Earth Co-ordinator said:

“We are inviting people to help us make parking spaces more sociable, fun and colourful. Imagine if our cities had fewer spaces for cars and more room for people. It’s only for one day, but we hope this will inspire people to envisage the future of their streets in new ways.”

Photo opportunity:  Friday 16th September. 9.30am, Thomas Street, Northern Quarter. Phone Graeme Sherriff on 07948 405071 for exact PARK(ing) location.

ENDS

CONTACTS FOR COMMENTS

Graeme Sherriff, Manchester Friends of the Earth, Mobile 07948 405071
Pete Abel, Manchester Friends of the Earth. Mobile: 07951 642858

Notes to Editors:
[1] See http://parkingday.org/ for more details. PARK(ing) Day 2010 saw over 800 “PARK” installations in more than 180 cities in 30 countries on six continents. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

[2] Sustrans, 2008. Traffic restraint and retail vitality. www.sustrans.com/webfiles/liveable%20neighbourhoods/Traffic%20restraint%20and%20retail%20vitality.pdf

[3] Sustainable Development Commission, 2011. Fairness in a Car-dependent society, “SDC estimate that the total cost of our level of car dependency significantly exceeds the £48 billion per annum in taxes and charges on UK road users.”
www.sd-commission.org.uk/data/files/publications/fairness_car_dependant.pdf

[4] Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations.  Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England,
Wales and Northern Ireland.

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