Parking Day

Parking Day

By Aaron Britt
After lunch today I ambled down to Spur (San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association) to see how they, and the Great Street Initiative, were celebrating Parking Day.

Parking Day commenced just a few short years ago by the San Francisco art and design collective Rebar in hopes of reclaiming the city’s streets. The concept is simple—feed a parking meter and create a temporary installation in those parking spots, and reclaim a public space from its typical use.

The fine folk at Spur set up shop at 10:00 AM this morning with a pair of parking-spot-sized platforms designed by architect Riyad Ghannam. They added potted plants furnished by Flora Grubb and the work of furniture maker Miles Epstein, and a raft of entertainers like belly dancer Calamity Sam and erstwhile subway cellist Leo Suarez-Peringer.

I spoke with SPUR pulic engagement intern Dasha Mikic, who told me that the plan was to put the parking spaces "to people use." She also told me that in lieu of feeding the meter, they asked for donations from passers-by. "We started the day with three rolls of quarters," she said, "but people were so happy to contribute that we didn’t need to spend them all."

"SPUR is passionate about educating the public on thoughtful design. And we view Parking Day as an extension of our educational programming," she said.

What’s even more exciting, as one visits Parking Day’s website, is to see how many Parking Days have happened across the globe today. What started here in San Francisco is now an international phenomenon, and another example of how guerilla design can redefine urban spaces, empower the populace to reimagine the spaces they own, and add a little design whimsy to an otherwise normal Friday.

Images courtesy SPUR.


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