Monday, 11 February 2013

Question: When Is A Park Not A Park?

parks photocrop Answer: When it’s a car park. Ha, ha. To help identify the difference here are some clues. A park has grass, trees, flowers, sometimes a pond with ducks. A park has children playing, lovers sprawling, pic-nickers pic-nicking. A car park has cars. That’s it. How did this happen? What smoke and mirrors, what sleight of hand means that a place where cars are temporarily stored has become a car “park”? How differently would we think about cars that are not actually being used if we described this as something other than “parking” in a “car park.” Because the reality is that a place for storing cars is fugly (flipping ugly). If these places were called something different, it might be easier to think about re-imagining our towns and cities. So we need a new name for what we now misleadingly label a car “park.” Friends have suggested car-eyesore, and I’m tempted by car-store. Any other ideas?  (Photo from The Value of Public Space: How high quality parks and public spaces create economic, social and environmental value).


  1. Car parks are ugly, utilitarian spaces, so they need an ugly, utilitarian name - something like "Motorised Vehicle Storage Location". Alternatively, simply "Tarmac space".