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-based 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 planning strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the urban landscape.”
This year Garden Station’s Project Manager, Lisa Helm, has coordinated a park in front of Blind Bob’s in the Oregon District featuring kids activities and a noon concert by Todd the Fox. Bike Miami Valley has coordinated a park to demonstrate protected bike lanes on Second Street by Boston Stoker and will be giving out free 24-hour Link passes to use any time. MetroParks is loaning plants for the day and Green Velvet Sod Farms has donated sod, which will end up at Garden Station. This is the seventh year Dayton will participate in the event, which promotes green space for people over space for cars.
Since 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2011 – the last year statistics were collected — included 975 “PARK” installations in more than 160 cities in 35 countries on six continents. Though PARK(ing) Day now longer tracks the number of PARKs each year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe.
PARK(ing) Day is an “open-source” user-generated invention created 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. More information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities can be found at facebook and a global map of all participating cities are available on the PARK(ing) Day website, at parkingday.org.