|PARK(ing) Day came to Hangzhou, China for the first time this year. Photo from helina lass at Park(ing)Day Hangzhou 2010|
It has been declared a great success by its global organisers. I agree. I love this event for the way it makes people think again about something they usually take for granted - on-street parking space.
What is International PARK(ing) Day anyway?
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. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!These days, most PARK(ing) Day events have official permission. Nevertheless, a number faced problems with local bureaucracies, for example in Berlin and Brussels.
But why should special permission be necessary? This may seem a 'stupid question' but it made me stop and think. Keep reading for more reflections on PARK(ing) Day that start with this stupid question.