Matthew Shaffer – Park(ing) spaces

So earlier this week I was exchanging emails in regard to a get together I am having next Monday with some girlfriends up in the bay area and brunch or lunch and a walk were aired in regard to potential activites. Now being a Londoner I’m not afraid of a walk (especially if it is in the direction of a local pub) and in the 10 years that I have lived on US soil I still haven’t reverted to that anti walking behaviour of driving from one side of the mall to the other. However, I believe that in Northern California ‘walk’ actually means ‘hike’ so there I was reading the email and having to now consider appropriate wardrobe and band aid choices.

One of the girlfriends then sent an email enquiring if we wanted to brunch and then ‘walk’ or ‘walk’ then brunch.. I saw my opportunity and typed quickly to reply that she had left out an entirely viable option which was to brunch then lunch…..

As soon as I hit ‘send’ I wondered what I was portraying as I DO love being outdoors, I DO love walking, I just don’t like blisters! I was just contemplating what I might to do make amends on this urban anti outside image that I was wrongly creating about myself and Matt stepped into my life.

OK, the truth may actually be that I ambushed him, (ah ha..please note the very natural reference to foliage in my rhetoric!…) Matthew Shaffer is the Associate Director of Marketing Services for The Trust for Public Land and an all round good egg for talking to me at such short notice and for doing so without so much of an inkling as to my current goal to fix my image and convey myself as both tree hugger and fresh air loving citizen.

Now the Trust for Public Land are doing some wonderful things and among them is an initiative to support urban dwellers and others not so fortunate to live near a park to reclaim a piece of green for their own. On September 19th TPL are holding a national event to create temporary parks in parking spaces for one day. Now you may be thinking wow that’s kind of whacky and cool but why would they do that? Well Matthew had the answers….

Tell me why you are passionate about this initiative and what your personal dream is in regard to the overall impact.

A little space – a little park not much larger than one parking spot – can go so very far to transform a neighborhood, bring people together, and get us a little closer to nature. Parks are vital to a city’s health, and Park(ing) Day helps demonstrate their immense value. And the creativity of designing and making all these individual parks happen – and putting them in unique places – is very rewarding.

We’re at a tipping point where cities and counties in particular are not just thinking about parks but putting real dollars and muscle behind ambitious park, natural areas, and trail plans. Great park systems – that reach as many families as possible – make cities great places to live. Park(ing) Day can help advertise the importance of these community efforts, especially when the Park(ing) parks reflect local needs.

I am curious, what is your favorite thing to do in a park? Play, read, people watch?
I wish I had an easy answer – depends on the park and the company. So many parks, so many options!

OK so here are some scenarios…just fill in the blank..

You are in Prospect Park, Brooklyn with say….Barack Obama, you would…
Play chess.

You are in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco with something to tell folks you would tell them…
Go to the observation tower at the deYoung.

Finally you are in Forest Park in St Louis with your closest friend, you would….
Get a map (never been) but let’s assume there’s an arboretum somewhere there – I’d check that out.

Check this video out to see past park(ing) day events.

I love the fact that TPL are forgoing traditional advertising and instead creating experiential teasers for what could be in a neighborhood near you. Want to take part?

If you live in the OC the closing date for entries to design your own park(ing) space is coming up on July 29th just fill out the entry form.

And for everyone else in the U.S please visit Park(ing) day to see how you can take part on Friday September 19th, and for those of you in London and other cities outside of the U.S, I believe that there is a commitment for this initiative to become an international affair with prior years having park(ing) spaces in European locations too, so please investigate what you could do in your own city.

Matthew, thanks so much for your time and your commitment to such a great initiative and for making me look a lot more familiar with our great outdoors.

Personally I am very much looking forward to some park(ing) transformations near me.. no REALLY I am….

Photo: The Berger Partnership, PS
© The Red Barn Cooperative – Working together to nourish lives
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1 Response to “Matthew Shaffer – Park(ing) spaces”

  1. 1 It’s labor day… « The Red Barn Cooperative Trackback on September 1, 2008 at 1:41 pm

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