Park(ing) Day


Park(ing) Day

Its held on the third Friday in September — That’s this week.

The idea is to take a parking space or two, and turn it into a park — Roll out some sod, or AstroTurf, bring in some potted plants and trees, put up a bench and enjoy. The founders of the fad, a design firm named Rebar in San Francisco (of course) see it as a way to draw attention to the often dirth of open space in the urban environment, and perhaps get people to think a bit more about the good earth and a bit less about the hustle and bustle of urban life, at least, as they put it, until the meter runs out.  I think they are  closet anti car bicycle riders, but they don’t stress that aspect.

I must be mellowing, because when this started in 2005 with one space in Baghdad by the Bay, I poo pooed the idea as a passing fancy. in 2014 there were nearly 1000 parking space size parks in 160 cities in 35 countries on six continents.  What no Antarctica?

This project seems to have taken a life of its own. Parklets, as they are called, are now themed, changing with flora, fauna (dog park), and other themes. One in Phoenix this year even has a “pillow fight” theme.  Here’s a Phoenix Parklet from last year”


If we haven’t already, why not embrace Park(ing) day as an industry. Or at least make it easy for groups to set up parklets and give guidelines as to dos and don’ts. I can see little harm, and great PR. Imagine — evil parking Nazis sitting in a park built on a parking spot. People might even speak to the officers and who knows…make a friend or two.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

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