Every year, thousands of people take over metered parking spaces to create their own temporary parks. The aim, first of all, is to hang out and have a good time. And secondly: to show how an ordinary urban location could be re-imagined.
"Park(ing) Day identifies the metered parking space as [an undervalued] niche within the urban landscape, and redefines it as a fertile terrain for creative social, political, and artistic experimentation," says the event's manifesto.
The idea originated in San Francisco with a design studio called Rebar, which set up the first park in 2005. It's grown every year since in an open-source, organic sort of way (nobody is in charge). In 2011, the last year Rebar counted, there were 975 parks in 162 cities. For this year's event, held last Friday, there were probably more than that.
“Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making cities,” says Rebar's Matthew Passmore. “The planning strategies that have led to traffic congestion, pollution, and poor health in cities everywhere do not reflect contemporary values, nor are they sustainable. Park(ing) Day raises these issues and demonstrates that even temporary projects can improve the character and quality of the city.”
Check out the slide show for some examples of parks from across the globe.