For several years, Strong Towns has led a social media campaign called #BlackFridayParking. If you aren’t familiar with it, here’s the basic logic:
We build far too much parking, plain and simple. “But,” the pro-parking person may argue, “we need this parking because what about Black Friday?” Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that it does make sense to invest in gigantic asphalt lots that will only be fully used one day a year (it doesn’t make sense, for the record). So then, what about Black Friday? With #BlackFridayParking, people were encouraged to go out on Black Friday and photograph exactly what about it. The results are predictable year after year: parking lots around the country aren’t full. Acres of asphalt in town after town are going to waste.
If we aren’t using our parking lots on the busiest shopping day of the year, then what’s their purpose?
This year, with the pandemic upon us, it doesn’t make sense to complain when people aren’t going outside. Instead, we’re going to take photos of empty parking lots with the hashtag #IWishThisParkingWas, followed by our best ideas for a better use of the space.
So here’s the deal. Get yourself and your camera ready for the 2020 parking challenge.
- Get outside and take pictures of excessive or underused parking in your town.
- Upload your photos to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #blackfridayparking AND the hashtag #iwishthisparkingwas . And then let us know, in an image or in the caption, exactly what you’d do with that parking lot that would create more value for your community. (Housing? Offices? Park? You decide!)
- Check out other peoples’ photos from across the country, which we’ll be posting in real time on Strong Towns on Friday, November 27th!
I’m excited about this change. It’s easy to rage against something, but more fun to find creative alternatives. I’ll definitely be watching this hashtag, and, if I dare to venture in public this Friday, I’ll see what I can post.
Will you join us?