October 27, 2016 by 2019-2020 Equity & Diversity Task Force, 2019-2020 Sustainability & Resiliency Task Force, 2020-2021 Council of Global Representatives, 2020-2021 Learning & Teaching Culture Advisory Group, 2021-2022 Professional Development Advisory Group

Park(ing) Day was a project started back in 2005 by art and urban design group Rebar in San Francisco and has now become a huge event across the world. We, as the AIAS Freedom by Design team at the University of Houston, decided to participate in this global event that would raise awareness for more public urban spaces by converting parking spaces to small parks or “parklets” in Houston.

This year, several parklets would occupy street parking in Downtown Houston between City Hall and the Public Library and transform these spaces into a more enjoyable public space. Our Freedom by Design team focused on a simple approach to the project that would express a matter that is relevant to many architecture students, paper waste. As design students, we waste a lot of paper for studio presentation boards. We took the scraps and old presentations boards and shredded them to be used as papier mache blocks for a giant Jenga game. This would function as a statement of paper usage in architecture school, but also as a fun way of making the parklet more interactive. It was a great success in showing not just the students, but also those who came to visit how paper can be used in other ways and provide emphasis on paper wastage.