In cities around the globe today, artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called “PARK(ing) Day.”
Originally invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure. “In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution,” says Rebar’s Matthew Passmore. “The strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant urban human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the metropolitan landscape.”
Since 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2008 included more than 500 “PARK” installations in more than 100 cities on four continents. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe, including first-time PARK installations in South Africa, Poland, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea. “Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making the urban landscape,” says Rebar’s John Bela. “PARK(ing) Day demonstrates that even temporary or interim spatial reprogramming can improve the character of the city.”
PARK(ing) Day is a grassroots, “open-source” invention built by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to champion creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their local urban conditions. Rebar has exhibited PARK(ing) Day at venues worldwide, including at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, ISEA 2009 Dublin, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the American Institute of Architects and the Van Alen Institute in New York.
More information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities and a global map of all participating cities are available on the PARK(ing) Day Network here.