As the city of Cincinnati moves into a digital payment system for street parking, many of the meters that accepted coins for the past few decades have been cut in half and left around the Over-The-Rhine and Pendleton neighborhoods, being used as makeshift trash receptacles. These meter shells contribute to the chaotic aesthetic of transition and disruption. Some are marked with new stickers pointing to a pay-by-phone system, indicating that although the meters do not function for actual transactions, they still require payment. This bizarre evolution from functional object to signpost leaves the physical shape of the meter as more of a metaphor for the fear of a parking ticket.
During the Spring of 2016, I created small gardens in each parking meter shell, offering a moment of color and life to those who encounter the meters, filling them with a custom concrete garden planter filled with both living and faux flowers. In an effort to demonstrate through example the impact of aesthetic beauty and the hope of springtime, I created over 30 meter gardens around Cincinnati's Findlay Market. The gardens belonged to the community, to offer a different experience and new way to view no-longer-functional objects in public spaces, as well as to suggest new approaches to re-appropriate broken objects on our city streets in new creative ways.
The Meter Gardens could be found throughout the Findlay Market, OTR and Pendleton neighborhoods.
To see more documentation of the process and meters that were a part of the Meter Garden project go to https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/metergardens/