A brand new park poped up in Doylestown Borough, but it wasn’t somewhere off the beaten path. It was right in the heart of town thanks to a collaboration between Temple University Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture faculty and students and community volunteers.
Park(ing) for People, a temporary 120-foot, by 12-foot “pop up” park wasopen to the public on September 18 and September 19, taking up a few parking spots right in front of the County Theater, 20 E. State Street, at the main intersection in Doylestown.
This community outreach effort was part of Park(ing) Day, a global event designed to bring attention to the need for more urban open space, spark discussions about how public space is created and allocated and improve the quality of the places in which we live and work.
Temple’s part of the Doylestown project was being spearheaded by Associate Professor Baldev Lamba, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture.
“Imagine a greener, more people-friendly space in place of parking spots. This pop up park was a true partnership between our students and faculty and volunteer architects, horticulturists, landscape architects, artists and organizations in the region,” said Lamba. “It’s been a wonderfully energizing, fun and rewarding experience. The outpouring of encouragement and offers of help from the community has shown over and over again just how amazing people in the Doylestown area truly are.”
According to Lamba, Park(ing) for People highlighted “an urban meadow theme.”
“It included plants, perennial grasses and trees that can handle an urban environment in addition to seating areas for people passing by,” he said. “All of the material is being reused within the community. Our park and streetscape is 100 percent sustainable.”
Several events are planned around the pop up park, said Lamba.
The grand opening, which included a concert by Faith and Practice, will began at 12 p.m. on Friday, September 18. A concert by the Lucas Ebeling Trio was also be held on September 18.
On Saturday, September 19 community members were invited to join Dtown Bike Riding Basics on a bike ride to the pop up park beginning at Linden Elementary School. Additional events on September 19 included “Story time with Miss Larissa” and a concert by the Overtone Acoustic Duo.
In addition to the lush displays of plants and trees, Lamba said, Abby Sernoff, a local mixed media collage artist, created a 6-foot-tall cylindrical art installation titled “Taking Flight,” which incorporated several of her original bird and nature inspired works.
An additional art installation by Central Bucks West senior Olivia Horan titled “Diaphanous Bloom” was, according to Horan, a “reflection on my generation’s struggle in claiming ownership of our future and our role in securing and improving a better world.”
Lamba is no stranger to the concept of pop up gardens. He coordinated the award winning design of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s first pop up garden in 2011. Located at 20th and Market Streets, the garden took its inspiration from Temple’s award winning Philadelphia Flower Show exhibit — Écolibrium – French Traditions/Modern Interpretations — from the same year. While that park was a touch larger — 32,000 square feet — the message and premise is the same as the Doylestown pop up park, Lamba said.
“It’s about changing mindsets. It’s showing people that urban centers can have areas that are green, innovative and inviting,” he said. “With the Philadelphia pop up gardens, people hate to see them go — it builds a sense of community. It’s such a unique concept. No one expects to see a park just spring up in the center of town, and this is the most active part of the borough.”
Among the many supporters of the Park(ing) for People project were Schumacher Landscaping & Construction; Sentinel Process Systems Inc.; the Pennsylvania/Delaware Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects; Bucks Beautiful; Clearview Nursery Inc.; Doylestown Borough’s Environmental and Recreation Committee; Doylestown Business Alliance; Feeney's Plant Nursery and Garden Center; Huberific Graphic Design Studio; Ralph C. Fey AIA Architects; and Temple University Ambler.