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PARK(ing) Day 2021 Recap

October 9, 2021 | More News

PARK(ing) Day has been hosted in Knoxville since 2018.

Originally started in San Francisco in 2005, the annual event has been embraced in cities across the world in recent years. The concept for the event is that individuals, groups, and businesses rethink the use of on-street parking to recreate those spaces for people to use instead of cars. Often, those spaces are turned into temporary parks, but there are always a variety of other uses as well.

In Knoxville, the event takes place on Gay Street and is hosted by the City, the American Institute of Architects of East Tennessee, and the East Tennessee Community Design Center.

This year’s event hosted groups that redesigned 20 parking spaces for people to enjoy. The spaces were filled with seating, plants, art, elaborate structures, workout equipment, and more.


Planning and the TPO worked together to create a space for the event, and settled on a tabletop game. A map of a large, underutilized piece of property was set on top of a table and provided the base on which people could work. The property was a greyfield, or a property that had previously been utilized but is now vacant or very underutilized. It had a street along the front that provided easy access to the area and single-family housing behind it. We then created several different types of buildings for people to use to redevelop the site. They included:

There were also opportunities for people to make notes about what was important to them as they redesigned the space and for them to leave comments about what they like about Knox County and what they would like to improve.

The game was created to make participants think about what they would want to prioritize if they had a chance to develop a property that was a blank slate. It was fun to see people work through the challenge and to see different priorities and interpretations emerge.