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December 15, 2005

Parks Instead of Parking - Literally

Parking_activismTalk about cultural creatives!

Via a blog reader, here's a nifty story about a "landscape remixing" effort in San Francisco that illustrates a point we've long made in a small, powerful way.

Between noon and two on November 16, a collective called Rebar turned one of the city's parking spaces into a small park. They fed the meter, rolled out some turf, put up a park bench and a tree, hung a sign, and encouraged people to hang out, read the paper, and enjoy the greenery that would usually be taken up by a vehicle. (Watch the slide show.)

Their aim was to:

"...transform a parking spot into a PARK(ing) space, thereby temporarily expanding the public realm and improving the quality of urban human habitat, at least until the meter ran out. By our calculations, we provided an additional 24,000 square-foot-minutes of public open space that Wednesday afternoon. "

We--and many others--have long talked about the disadvantages of devoting so much urban space to parking. Nice to see a visualization of the positive side of that coin. Is there a Rebar in Cascadia?

Posted by Elisa Murray | Permalink


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Tracked on Dec 17, 2005 10:51:03 PM


I heard of someone doing this once before, a good few years back, but I can't remember where or when. It's a great idea, and I'm happy to see other people trying it.

Posted by: Mars Saxman | Dec 15, 2005 9:26:51 PM

City Repair out of Portland has done some great work -- see their "intersection repair" projects. http://www.cityrepair.org/index.html

The intersection repair concept has inspired several neighborhoods where I'm from in Olympia to reclaim the streets for neighbors and pedestrians. Our neighborhood association is applying for a grant from the city to make something happen at an intersection bordered by an elementary school on one side and a bakery on the other.

Posted by: Keith Cotton | Dec 19, 2005 1:32:10 PM