Downtown design firm's pocket park raises awareness for urban greenspace

To celebrate Green Spring, an effort by local design firm BCRA to encourage sustainable living and to promote the benefit of urban parks, BCRA volunteers recently constructed a park in their South 21st Street and C Street parking lot. The two parking-stalls-turned-pocket-park (so-called PARKing spaces) will remain throughout the rest of April, after which they will be converted to stalls reserved for environmentally-conscious automobiles.
According to BCRA marketing director Deanna Dargan, marketing director, the firm built the park to raise awareness of a number of issues:
— As many as two in three city residents in America do not have access to nearby parks, playgrounds, or open space.
— Because pavement absorbs heat from the sun, parking lots and spaces contribute to urban heat island effect, a phenomenon in which urban areas remain hotter than suburban or rural areas where there is more greenery and moisture. The temperatures within an urban area at any given time could be two to five degrees more than the surrounding rural area.
— The health of communities depends on how people interact with each other. Parks naturally connect people better than any other means.
— There are more square feet of public parking spaces than public parks in America.
Materials for the park were donated by Valerian LLC, Mutual Materials, and Emerald Turfgrass.
During the annual Green Spring, BCRA dedicates the month of April to renewing habits on the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), sustainability education, and environmentally conscientious living — “an effort to better the environment around us today and for generations to come.”
BCRA’s next Green Spring event will be held today, Earth Day, at 21 Commerce. BCRA is hosting “GreenScene: A Sustainable Urban Market.” This event is open to the public. Participants include organic food growers and distributors, sustainable textiles merchants, local nature photographers and publications. Goods will be available for sampling and purchase. The goal behind Green Scene is to celebrate Earth Day and raise awareness of locally produced goods and services, while promoting social networking in the City of Tacoma and surrounding communities. For more information, visit .