Redefining Urban Public Spaces with Park(ing) Day
Parking Day is an annual open source global event where citizens, artists, and activists collaborate to temporarily transform parking spaces. Built upon a simple yet refreshing concept, that a paid parking space is essentially like a short-term lease, individuals are encouraged to collaborate, create, and find innovative solutions for better community engagement in public spaces.
It all started with a San Francisco based art and design studio, Rebar, that transformed a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in an area of San Francisco that was lacking in public space. This urban initiative completely redefined our standard understanding of how public space is created and allotted.
For Rebar and thousands of others, this can be as simple as rolling out a mat of grass and building a little extra park space for one’s allotted hour or two. But the innovation doesn’t just end there. Some of the most socially innovative Park(ing) Project have included free health clinics, temporary urban farms, teaching seminars, and even bike repair shops. Others have responded to this open-source project with collaborative or individual public installations.
Rebar has built a foundation, a instruction manual of sorts, for this urban initiative to occur, but it is really how the user chooses to interact which his/her space that allows for community specific change.
Park(ing) Day occurs on the third Friday of September and in less than 10 years, has expanded to over 975 parks, 162 cities, 35 countries, and 6 continents.