Imagine Different:  Re-designing Manchester – one parking space at a time!

18th September 2018

On Friday 21st September, Manchester Friends of the Earth is inviting people to join them to help redesign a car parking space in Manchester city centre into a picnic park complete with “grass”, plants, deckchairs, tea, cupcakes and sparkling conversation as part of international PARK(ing) Day. [1]

In cities around the world, PARK(ing) Day sees citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks or social spaces… at least until the meter runs out!

Over the last 50 years our cities have been developed to make more and more space for the car. Supermarkets and sopping 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 – these policies have high costs in terms of air pollution, congestion and health.

Yet, according to research from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the typical European car is parked 92 percent of the time – often on valuable inner-city land. When the car is used, only 1.5 of its 5 seats are occupied and as much as 50 percent of inner-city land is devoted to mobility (roads and parking spaces). [2]

Looking beyond PARK(ing) Day, Manchester Friends of the Earth are calling on Andy Burnham, the Greater Manchester Mayor and GM council leaders to enable local residents to create parklets where they live or work to make our city space greener and more enjoyable.

Catherine Thomson, Manchester Friends of the Earth co-ordinator said: “Imagine if our cities had fewer spaces for cars and more room for people. We are inviting people to help us make parking spaces more sociable, fun and colourful. Join us on the day or ask your local councillor to help make grey spaces near you become green.”

In July, Hackney Council, London launched a scheme to offer local residents the chance to design their own ‘parklets’ to replace up to 15 parking spaces on Hackney streets. Each parklet will occupy a single parking space, with the design determined by residents. Features could include planters, bike racks, benches, notice boards and games.

The trial scheme will run from one to six months, after which the council will decide whether to make the parklets permanent. [3]

Transport for Greater Manchester recently published ‘parklet guidance’ to encourage local councils to make on-street spaces more pleasant for people. [4]


Contacts for comments:

Pete Abel, Manchester Friends of the Earth. Mobile: 07951 642858

Notes for Editors

[1] See Coming soon…. PARK)ing) Day.

[2] Ellen MacArthur Foundation report. GROWTH WITHIN: A Circular Economy Vision for a competitive Europe.

[3] See Power to the parklets! Hackney to allow residents to turn parking bays into people places, TransportExtra.

[4] See BEELINES T002 Technical note on parking and parklets

Multi purpose PARKLETS
This refers to space taken away from private motor vehicles in order provide space and services for more active modes. One car parking space can house ten bikes. It could also house a seat so that people can rest on journeys or dwell to talk to friends and neighbors. If ground conditions are appropriate then trees can be planed in these spaces in order to improve air quality and provide shade and shelter. It has also been suggested that this space may be more appropriate for the housing of electric charging points as it reduces the trip hazard and obstruction potential of placing charge points on footways.

[5] 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: Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.