A brand new park is about to pop up in Doylestown Bourough, but it isn’t somewhere off the beaten path. It will be 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 will be open to the public on Friday, September 18 and Saturday, 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 is 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 is 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 is 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 will highlight “an urban meadow theme.”
“It will include 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 will be 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 includes a concert by Faith and Practice, will begin at 12 p.m. on Friday, September 18. A concert by the Lucas Ebeling Trio will also be held on September 18 from 3:45 to 5:45 p.m.
On Saturday, September 19 community members are invited to join Dtown Bike Riding Basics on a bike ride to the pop up park beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Linden Elementary School. Additional events on September 19 include “Story time with Miss Larissa” from 10 to 10:45 a.m. and a concert by the Overtone Acoustic Duo from 12 to 1 p.m.
“We will also host a photography competition. We are looking for interesting photographs taken of the pop up park during Park(ing) Day, which will be used in an event photo gallery,” Lamba said. “Two winning photographers will be awarded gift certificates from local restaurants and shops. Submissions may be made at firstname.lastname@example.org by September 25.”
In addition to the lush displays of plants and trees, Lamba said, Abby Sernoff, a local mixed media collage artist, is creating a 6-foot-tall cylindrical art installation titled “Taking Flight,” which incorporates several of her original bird and nature inspired works.
An additional art installation by Central Bucks West senior Olivia Horan titled “Diaphanous Bloom” is, 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 are 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.