PARK(ing) Day is an annual event where metered parking spaces are temporarily transformed by the public into pocket parks or other open space, as a demonstration of the power of public spaces in urban design. One or two parking spots, when temporarily adapted, can “activate” streetscapes on the human level and create more inviting spaces for everyone, rather than just cars alone.
PARK(ing) Day is a annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco.
Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.
These events are a sort of law-abiding form of what’s called “Tactical Urbanism,” which involves concerned citizens taking matters of urban design into their own hands and improving city spaces, often guerrilla-style. It’s neat stuff, when it works, and there’s no better place for improvement downtown than Congress Avenue — which is where the event took place in Austin last Friday.
Seven sites constructed by various city organizations and businesses including the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and urban design firm Asakura Robinson operated from morning till night, but by the time your intrepid photographer got there early in the evening, many of the sites had already packed up, despite the Facebook page listing a rough end time of 8:00 p.m.
Boo! That’s what I get for trying to wait out the heat. Anyway, here’s what I saw: