PURPOSE: To reclaim space devoted to automobiles, and to increase the vitality of street life
LEADERS: Advocates, Non-Profits, Community Groups
SCALE: Street || Block
FACT: In 2011, 975 on-street parking spaces were temporarily reclaimed in 165 cities, 35 countries, and across six continents.
PARK(ing) Day is an annual event where on- street parking spaces are converted into park-like public spaces. The initiative is intended to draw attention to the sheer amount of space devoted to the storage of private automobiles.
While its provenance is sometimes debated among advocates in New York and San Francisco, re- search reveals that Bonnie Ora Sherk, a San Francisco- based artist, first began converting pavement to parks with her 1970 project entitled “Portable Architecture.”
Nonetheless, the outward marketing of the initiative first occurred in 2005 when the interdisciplinary design group Rebar converted a single San Francisco parking space into a mini-park. The group simply laid down sod, added a bench and tree, and fed the meter with quarters. Instantly garnering national attention, PARK(ing) Day has spread rapidly amongst livable city advocates and is thought to be the pre-cursor to New York and San Francisco’s parklet and pavement to parks programs.
At its core, PARK(ing) Day encourages collaboration amongst local citizens to create thoughtful, but temporary additions to the public realm. Once reclaimed, parking spaces are programmed in any number of ways; many focus on local, national, or international advocacy issues, while others adopt specific themes or activities. The possibilities and designs are as endless as they are fun.
While participating individuals and organizations operate independently, they do follow a set of established guidelines. Newcomers can pick up the PARK(ing) Day Manifesto, which covers the basic principles and includes a how-to implementation guide.
Excerpt from Tactical Urbanism 2.