Playgrounds in Park(ing) Spaces
It’s one of our favorite and most creative days of the year again — Park(ing) Day is this Friday, September 20th! In honor, we’ve made a map of the San Francisco installations we want to check out before they’re gone.
Park(ing) Day is an annual global demonstration in which everyday citizens take over metered parking spaces and turn them into tiny public parks. The project was originated by Rebar, a San Francisco-based urban design studio, after partners Matthew Passmore, John Bela, and Blaine Merker discovered a loophole in public code that didn’t specify what you were allowed to keep in parking space once you put money in the meter. Recognizing the lack of urban space for humans to “rest, relax, or just do nothing,” they staged an intervention on November 16, 2005. In a tw0-hour experiment (the time limit on the meter), they turned San Francisco parking space into a park, complete with a fake grass lawn, a small tree, and a tiny public bench.
Since then, Rebar’s intervention has snowballed into an annual global event where citizens demonstrate creative alternative uses for parking spaces. The event has also influenced civic leaders to create more permanent parklet permitting processes in cities around the world.
Some of our favorite Park(ing) Day parklets have been ones that encourage us to let our inner kid out. Last year we explored a balloon tunnel, witnessed a toy boat regatta, and sat down at a campsite. In anticipation of tomorrow’s awesomeness, here are the must-see parklets on our list (and you can check out our Google Map of SF highlights here):