NoPark; Assignment 1

24 نوفمبر


EHC logo

The NO PARK green space is a project actualized by the Environmental Health Clinic in New York City.  Rather than addressing health issues like a medical clinic, they work to solve environmental issues brought forth by “impatients.” Patients at this clinic are referred to as impatients because they are too impatient to wait for government action to improve environmental health.  Impatients set up an appointment with the EHC to discuss environmental issues in their area.  Their so-called prescription is data detailing what they can personally do to improve environmental health, and how they can get involved with community action as well.  As well as diagnosing the issues of impatients, the EHC conducts their own experiments and projects.

Natalie Jeremijenko, a renowned contemporary artist and engineer with a background in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience, and precision engineering, currently heads this organization.  She is known for radical ideas and projects involving the environment and social change.  As well as heading the EHC, she is an assistant professor at NYU in the Visual Arts department.  TechTacular learned of the NoPark project through listening to Jeremijenko’s speech, “The Art of the Eco-mind Shift.”

NoPark is a solution to an environmental health problem that is most prevalent in cities.  This project tackles the need for more green space in big cities and the issue of excess pollutants. This project places micro engineered green spaces adjacent to fire hydrants in the no parking zones.  The green space mainly consists of low growth mosses and grasses.  The NoPark zones not only provide more green space but also serve to prevent oily storm water from running into the rivers, stabilize the soil, and be a durable and low maintenance surface cover.  NoPark areas also help clear out road pollutants and work to decrease carbon dioxide levels by sequestering air pollutants.  While these spaces continue to function as emergency vehicle parking, they will now have a greater purpose on the many non-emergency days.


Taxonomic categories

Activist Design, Urban Space Design, Environmental Corrective Design, Micro-Landscape Design, Fire-Hydrant Garden Design

Activist design: Through the Environmental Health Clinic, environmentally conscious people within a community are able to go in and talk to workers of the clinic who can help them figure out ways to remedy their concerns.

Urban Space Design: The designers of this project have used the urban setting to simultaneously address the issues of insufficient green space and excess pollutants.

Environmental Corrective Design: The NoPark project was designed to provide a green solution for the issue of chemicals and toxins in the street flowing into rivers and estuaries.

Micro-Landscape Design: The aspect of increased green space with NoPark involves placing plant life in an area that is generally unused, like no parking zones. Since these zones are small, the idea of miniature landscaping comes into play.

Fire-Hydrant Garden Design: These gardens are planted in no parking zones, which are normally in front of fire hydrants. However, in the case of an emergency, fire trucks or emergency vehicles can park over the gardens and they will still regrow.


Negotiations include: who maintains these green spaces and how they are maintained; how pedestrians and commuters treat these spaces; how the project is financed and who pays what; and where will these spaces exist and for how long

Maintaining the space vs. who should maintain it: These projects are completely voluntary so whoever plans out the projects must have a team that regularly maintains the space. If not, the plants could get out of control, and it would end up looking like a mess of weeds.

Recognizing aesthetic value of a space vs. viewing it as a waste of space: this ties into the maintenance of the project because if the space looks aesthetically pleasing then passersby may recognize that it’s there to serve a purpose or simply respect it because it looks presentable.

Cost vs. Gain: these projects are voluntary, so in order to pay for them the project coordinators have to use funds from their own pocket. This poses a challenge because although the intent is for the benefit of the community, some people are reluctant when it comes to using their money to help a local cause. This is especially the case when it has the potential to fail because it isn’t a fully established organization but a team of people planting gardens in urban areas. There is also the possibility of having to replant then over and over due to destruction from either emergency vehicles or troublemakers.

Location vs. Durability: these gardens have to be strategically placed since they are funded through the assets of everyday people, and there are several no parking zones around the city. They need to be placed in areas where they will provide the most benefit and last the longest.

11 تعليق to NoPark; Assignment 1



ديسمبر 14th, 2010 at 10:06 م

The negotiation of cost versus gain is the strongest of the negotiations from this case study. Utilizing wasted space like this is a very logical idea and the benefit of creating these spaces is something that should be carefully examined. Because the spaces are privately funded, those who are responsible for maintaining the area must carefully study and evaluate the space to make sure that it is suitable for the project.

– Trey



ديسمبر 15th, 2010 at 8:47 م

The simplicity of this idea is powerful. Several potent statements are made through this simple modification of emergency space. After covering non-parking spaces with micro ecosystems, many who would normally not think twice about parking in an emergency space now associate these spots with the environment. Illegally parking in these spaces is now associated with environmental neglect, which in this world of environmental concern is blasphemy. While these important social problems are solved, the most important changes come in the environment. Cities are infamous for environmental disregard; this project seeks to solve a small problem in the entire urban ecosystem. So many designers could learn from this simple design fix. Though it tackles social and environmental concerns, the design itself is elegantly simple, making it truly beautiful.



ديسمبر 15th, 2010 at 8:47 م

^ Will McCollum



ديسمبر 15th, 2010 at 10:22 م

I personally like this idea because it’s incredibly unique. Many designers incorporate extra green space into urban environments, but in places like rooftops and street islands. This green space is placed where cars are driven, which is quite different from where anyone would think it should be. The only negotiation that concerns me is the fact that volunteers have to maintain these spaces. Unless people really believe in a cause (like increasing the amount of green space in a city) and want to support it, they won’t pay for the green spaces and they won’t maintain them.



Aprils Twenty

ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 2:32 م

This is one of the strongest design ideas I’ve seen on the entire RAND blog for a number of reasons:
1. It is small scale and repeatable. It would be very easy to start by building just one of these NoParks with very little capital but after one was built the same process could be applied over and over again all around the city with very little modification. So this design is both simple and repeatable.
2. Solves many problems without creating conflict. It stops people from parking in no parking zones because it physically looks like a space with a specific purpose rather than just ‘unused space’. However, it doesn’t impede emergency vehicles from using the space for it intended, albeit underused purpose.
3. It requires little to know maintenance. The small space means that NoPark vegetation is specifically designed to be low growth, survive an urban environment and require little to no cultivation. This is a proven technology that many people have begun to use in their homes because by choosing appropriate plant life one can minimize the amount of care they need.
4. The final reason I like this design is for more subjective but it would seem to me that small green spaces spread across a city provide such a dramatic contrast from the harsh lines of an urban environment that it will draw people’s attention and be a constant nagging reminder about the plight of our environment. Many people are sympathetic towards the environmental cause but not to the point of taking action. A small reminder like this might be enough to push some people over the edge and cause them to take action to save the world we live on.


Aprils Twenty

ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 2:59 م

^ Luke K



ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 5:21 م

This design is very strong. When I first saw the picture, I laughed a little. The green space seemed awkward in the street but then I read about it. I think the idea is very interesting. I love that they take advantage of no parking zones to provide green space. The maintaining the space negotiations is one of the most important ones since without upkeep these green spaces could be destroyed. This helps people in the community get involved in a very simple way as well as give them a small patch of land to take care of. People in homes without yards might miss having a yard to take care of. This gives them a small space to plant plants as well as give back to their community.

Hannah F



ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 5:48 م

Environmental studies are among the most controversial issues in today’s society. However, as stated in the article, improvements and progress takes time, amd many New Yorkers do not wish to wait for change. “Patients at this clinic are referred to as impatients because they are too impatient to wait for government action to improve environmental health.” Those that make changes to society do not wait for permission or for government action to further their accomplishments.
The NO PARK green space project once again shows that society has to take control to draw attention to issues living around us.



ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 5:49 م

Olivia ^



ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 8:25 م

I like this project for the listed negotiation of cost vs gain, but also the way it challenges concepts of public space which ties in more with the aesthetic negotiation. The fact that these are essentially “guerilla” spaces, to some, could undercut the beauty of their form and function, and to others could make them that much more beautiful. In that way, the investment on the part of an individual to install one of these isn’t just a monetary or statistical risk as to the thing’s durability or eco-ROI, but also a risk in terms of potentially alienating fellow citizens who don’t find this solution particularly pleasant.

-Rock M.


pink albatross

ديسمبر 16th, 2010 at 9:20 م

When I first saw the initial picture associated with this idea, I thought to myself, “How ironic, are they taking up parking spaces with small gardens?” As I read further I realized what the intent really was, but even so, the irony still remains. Fixing issues of the environment by placing a cure in the places that normally cause the problems, a (no) parking space. This idea is cool because it brings green space into places where it is not normally noticed, and brings to light the problems associated with driving and car use.

Win C.

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