NANCY BARON
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In 1970, Joni Mitchell lamented the proliferation of parking lots in her song, Big Yellow Taxi.  Her dismay at the gradual disappearance of green areas was valid, not only for aesthetic reasons, but for environmental concerns as well. The propagation of paved parking lots reflected only one of the consequences of the growing number of cars.

One effect of the economic downturn I've noticed is that countless parking lots, landscaped and obviously well-planned, are now abandoned. I think about what these lots (now populated only by solitude-seeking drivers or skate boarders) were like in their prime; bustling with activity, drivers vying for the best parking space, security guards on the look out for poachers. Although born of disaster, the open spaces have become quiet places of slightly green respite in urban areas.