Today is PARK(ing) Day!

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You can find events in your area through the map on the Parkingday.org site.

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What is PARK(ing) Day, you ask? According to Parkingday.org,

PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

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You can find out more about PARK(ing) Day by reading an article in Smithsonian magazine. Some highlights:

The genesis of Park(ing) Day began in 2005, while Passmore was working in a downtown building, watching cars going in and out of metered spaces. “I had a vision of time-lapse photography, and started thinking: What if an art gallery came in for two hours, or a park came in for two hours? I looked into the law and found that, in San Francisco, it’s technically legal to do something with a metered parking space, apart from storing your car there.” … …

“We did it on November 16, 2005, on Mission Street,” Passmore recalls. “It lasted two hours: the maximum time offered on the meter.” Despite his legal research, Rebar’s foray into guerilla landscape architecture was filled with trepidation. “We actually had speeches prepared for the police: speeches about how we were acting in the public interest, planned to clean up after ourselves and so on. Because we were sure we were going to be arrested.” But nothing happened. “A few meter maids scooted by,” Passmore says with a laugh. “They must have assumed we had a permit—because no one in their right mind would try to do something like this otherwise.”

The event swept through the blogosphere. Suddenly, people all over the country wanted to turn parking spaces into parks. “People were asking us to replicate our project in their cities—which was difficult to do. We were just three guys with day jobs. Rebar was something we did on weekends. So we decided to make a how-to manual and let people do it on their own.”

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One comment on “Today is PARK(ing) Day!

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