A new kind of greenspace rolled out for this year’s International Car-Free day in Vancouver, BC – a Car Park. The Vancouver Design Nerds, a fluid group of designers, architects, artists and videographers, rescued a 1973 Pontiac LeMans from a local scrap yard and transformed it into a rolling vegetable garden. (Full Disclosure: I am a founding Design Nerd)
Coinciding with the City of Vancouver’s launch of the One Day campaign to reduce greenhouse gases, the Car Park was a massive hit on Car Free Day. It caused double-takes all day long and became the backdrop to endless happy tourist photos. (Other cities take note, the One Day campaign, like the Car Park, is Open Source. Make it yours.)
The Car Park is also a winner of the Vancouver City Planning Commision’s 21 Places competition, which solicited entries to enhance underutilized urban spaces.
The best thing about the Car Park is that you can have one too. Here’s how we did it.
First we gutted the car of all of its foams and liners, pulled out the engine and transmission, and removed the glass (to be remanufactured into a lamp). The roof became the engine compartment’s lining, the trunk lid turned upside down to elevate the bottom of the trunk compartment, and the hood raised the bed of the passenger compartment. Next, we lined it all with chicken wire and landscape cloth and filled the whole thing with soil. A Master Gardener planted the car with kale, chard, a blueberry bush, strawberries, and an array other ornamentals and edibles.
We spread the labour out over three weekends, but a dedicated group of five or six could easily make a Car Park in a weekend.
After the adventures of Car Free Day, we towed the Car Park to a friend’s driveway where it continues to attract attention from neighbours and news media. Its permanent home will be a street parking spot in front of the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation, just as soon as the City figures out how to classify the Car Park, to give it the appropriate parking permit.
If you’d like to see us in action, Adam Thomas (member of the Narcoleptic Videographers) taped the whole process and produced a ten-minute video called, How to Build a Car Park.
A Design Nerds website will be up shortly, pending resolution of some web hosting issues. Order your how-to DVDs soon!