ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Sustainable Cities Collective was relaunched as Smart Cities Dive in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates or images, may not have migrated over. For the latest in smart city news, check out the new Smart Cities Dive site or sign up for our daily newsletter.

Creative Urbanism: Park(ing) Day

Every year, artists, designers and citizens in cities around the world transform parking spaces into temporary public parks around September 20th in celebration of Park(ing) Day.

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 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.

The Vancouver Public Space Network has been celebrating Park(ing) Day since 2007. This year, the VPSN partnered with CityStudio, Modo Car Co-op, JapaDog and Tradeworks to transform two parking meters on Robson St. outside of Japadog with a 'woody' outdoor living room complete with a long table, a polka-dot piano and an art cart. Using recycled wood and pallets, the area is an intimate space for people to sit, read, talk, rest, meet new people, play the piano, engage in art and watch a movie. 

I had a chance to stop by on my lunch break and check it out. Then I ended up meeting some guys from VIA Architecture who walked me over to their Park(ing) Day installation - complete with an umbrella canopy and BBQ in Yaletown (they also had one set up in front of the Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France at Main and 21st). Kudos to everyone involved in making Park(ing) Day in Vancouver a success! I hope to see more installations in Vancouver next year.