Park(ing) Day, an annual event that temporarily converts parking spaces to other uses—like small public parks—took place last Friday in Chicago and dozens of other cities. Since the inaugural edition, in San Francisco in 2005, the event has caught on all over the world, and this is the second year that Chicago organizations have participated. I grabbed my camera and did a bike tour of all the places I knew of with installations. They seemed to be getting pretty good response—though one of the first reactions I caught was from a cyclist passing one of the spaces on Milwaukee (pictured above), who took a look at the sod and muttered, “Why? Why? Why?” as he whizzed by.

The short answer—which I got some version of from most people I talked to—is that they wanted to make people think about how to create green space in an urban environment as well as to challenge notions of what a parking space is, what a public space is, and what it means to lease space from the city (or LAZ Parking).

The Park(ing) Day website includes accounts of a few temporary parks in other cities being shut down, but most participants I met said they had the support of their aldermen, and they all diligently paid the box, attaching their stickers to whatever was handy—though as one organizer noted, “We have no license plate so it’s hard to ticket us.”

More images and info after the jump; all photos by me unless otherwise noted.