'No Park' Emergency Gardens

'No Park' Emergency Gardens

Rochelle Greayer
May 11, 2011

The Environmental Health Clinic, based at NYU, is a clinic and lab, just like other health clinics at universities, but with one big exception: this clinic dispenses prescriptions for solving your local environmental concerns (rather than your individual health concerns).

Here is how it works:

You make an appointment, just like you would at a traditional health clinic, to talk about your particular environmental health concerns. The 'doctors' review the ailment and you walk out with a prescription not for pharmaceuticals but for actions.

On the symptoms of degraded urban water quality, overflowing and polluted storm drainage, west nile virus, pedestrian walkway slipping hazards and excessive sidewalk dog pee they recently have prescribed No Park Gardens.

No Parks are the systematic replacement of all fire hydrant related no-parking zones with small street level gardens. For the 0.1% of the time that area is needed for a true emergency, first responders can simply drive over the top, but for the other 99.9% of the time, they solve many problems.

Environmental Health Clinic Staff calculate that with all of New York's no parking zones converted, there would be no need for storm drainage for a rain event up to 8 inches. It would all be absorbed and naturally filtered by the gardens and the improved and increased ground water will benefit street trees. Gardens would also eliminate puddling that often occurs near and in drains thereby reducing West Nile Virus and city dogs will surely be attracted to peeing here more than on other areas of pedestrian usage. And do we need to mention the loveliness of mini gardens at every corner?

To find out more about creating a No Park near you visit Environmental Health Clinic. Also see Studio 'g' to read more about the idea (including watching a TED presentation about the idea and the clinic given by founder Natalie Jeremijenko).

image via studio 'g'

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