Posts Tagged ‘parking’

It’s that time of the year again, PARK(ing) Day

PARK(ing) Day, an exercise in creativity centered around the repurposing and reimaging of public parking spaces, is back again this Friday, September 20th, for its annual event.

Founded by the Rebar Group, a San Francisco based art and design studio, this event began in 2005 with a 2-hour “PARK” installation on a metered parking space in the city’s financial district. The event is focused on citizens independently turning metered parking spots into temporary public parks and other spaces that encourage urbanites to reassess the way streets are perceived and utilized.

Back in 2011 the event saw 975 “PARK” installations pop up across 160 cities on six continents. The numbers aren’t in for 2012, but this global guerilla event has only grown since its inception and will surely draw plenty of installations throughout the Bay Area this year.

Here in San Francisco PARK(ing) Day seems to have been largely embraced by city officials and government. “Parklet’s” have been popping up all across San Francisco since the Pavement to Parks program began in 2010 with goals similar to those of PARK(ing) Day, but with a system of more permanent parking space conversion. Thirty-eight parklets have been installed throughout the city as of January. These “parklets” are open to the public, sponsored and maintained by local businesses/community organizations, and are permitted for 6 months with the possibility for another 6 month extension. Some may feel that this is a commercialization of the original movement. One interesting example of this manifestation is a 1 minute IKEA video posted on YouTube of a young hip couple creating a parklet entirely out of IKEA products. Commercialization or no, many seem happy with the overall direction of the movement and that this is a result of people truly reassessing how public space in an urban setting is used. As Blaine Merker, a Rebar principal, mused “What has been really gratifying is that (PARK)ing Day, which began as a guerilla art project, has been adopted by cities and integrated into their official planning strategies. A relatively modest art intervention has changed the way cities conceive, organize and use public space.”

As expected in large bustling cities full of cars and with limited parking like those found across America, an event like this is the subject of much contention. In San Francisco, it appears the use of metered parking is flexible beyond the realm of motor vehicles, but that is not the case everywhere. In many cities across the globe parking day has been outlawed and people run the risk of facing fines. What’s your take?

In any case, the event brings about beauty, creativity, and free space to enjoy so get excited and check out the “PARK” map for listings of the various sites here in San Francisco. Local participation and appreciation is the driving component of this event so get out, enjoy the beautiful late summer weather, and visit some PARK’s.

Some installments to check out this Friday:

PARK(ing) Day 2009:

Rita Roti is a broker associate / assistant manager at Zephyr Real Estate and can be reached at