Spaces to Places

Transforming Public Spaces into Vibrant Places for the Community.

Get Ready for the 2015 PARK(ing) Day

Banner: Reclaim Your City! Par(ING) Day

Photo courtesy of Rebar

Although PARK(ing) Day isn’t until September, specifically the third Friday in September, I think now is  the perfect time to start the planning for your project. So first, what is PARK(ing) Day? PARK(ing) Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks, sometimes referred to as parklets.

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.

Two women holding up signs that read: "Public Space Reclamation in Progress" and "More Parks"

Photo courtesy of Rebar

The project that started all of this was only in place for two hours – the time allotted on the parking meter. When the meter expired, the organizers rolled up the sod, packed away the bench and the tree, cleaned up, and left. But that two-hour temporary park left an impression and led to a movement.

Rebar’s original PARK(ing) project in 2005 in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Rebar

Rebar’s original PARK(ing) project in 2005 in San Francisco.

What followed were multiple requests to create PARK(ing) projects in other cities. And what followed after that was an “open-source” project and a how-to manual to empower people to create their own parklets. And thus “PARK(ing) Day” was born.

How do you think a parklet would go over in your community?  If you don’t know, you might want to try it out on PARK(ing) Day by designing and building a temporary parklet. If all goes well, you can make it a permanent parklet.

See some examples of permanent parklets:

So if you’re game, here’s the steps to get started from the folks who organize PARK(ing) Day:

1. Read the license (PDF). Understand that by participating, you agree to its terms. Notice that the license only gives you the legal right to use the trademark “PARK(ing) Day,” it does not give the right to occupy a metered parking space! It is your responsibility to research the legal regulations in your area and, if necessary, contact the local authorities for permission. Obey the law and have fun.

2. Download the free PARK(ing) Day Manual. It covers the basics and a little philosophy. Also check out the other resources that can help you market your parklet.

3. Join the DIY Planning Network. This is a social network designed for PARK(ing) Day participants. Browse for a group in your city, or start your own and trade ideas for this year’s event.

4. Add your planned parklet to the world map. This helps others find you and helps us track the growth of the movement to reclaim cities on PARK(ing) Day.

5. Take lots of pictures and video, but also be in the moment and talk to people who visit your parklet. You’re serving the public, so interact with them and see what they think.

6.Share your experience (photos, video, blog) on the DIY Planning Network,  global Flickr group, Facebook and other social media.

If you’re wondering what others have done in the past on PARK(ing) Day, here are some examples.

People sitting on the curb behind a sign that reads "Park in Progress"

Photo courtesy of Urbanful.

All photos below are courtesy of  Rebar.

People playing table tennis in a parklet

Photo courtesy of Rebar

A kayak exhibit set up inside a parklet

Photo courtesy of Rebar

A man sitting on a bench and another man next to him sitting on the grass of a downtown parklet

Photo courtesy of Rebar

Two men playing racquetball in a parklet right next to a busy street

Photo courtesy of Rebar

So, have you identified the parking space for your PARK(ing) Day project?   If not, what are you waiting for.


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Placemaking Guide: A Guide to Transform a Public Space into a Community Place
REALTORS® and state and local association staff can learn the details of Placemaking, the kinds of projects placemaking entails, how to organize them, and where to go for assistance and resources.

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Placemaking Grant
The Placemaking Grant funds the creation of new public spaces, like pocket parks, trails & gardens, in a community. The grant focuses on “lighter, cheaper, quicker” placemaking projects, which can be built under a year and cost less  than $200,000.

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