BY: ALEXANDRA VENNER
How can we invite people to use an unconventional public space?
Simply occupy a parking space and turn it into a welcoming place to be.
Back in 2005, a group of bold, creative folks at the Rebar Art and Design Studio in San Francisco transformed selected metered-parking spots into a park for a day. Using ‘guerilla’ tactics, this group started a global movement called PARK(ing) Day to expand and challenge the definition of a parking space. Since then, a number of cities have participated in PARK(ing) Day with a variety of temporary installments to demonstrate the underutilized potential of your average parking space.
The Vancouver Public Space Network has been taking advantage of this opportunity to creatively and boldly participate in the public realm since 2008. This year, a few eager VPSN folks led the initiative to support PARK(ing) Day following a friendly meet up at Vancouver’s one and only mobile parklet, ‘Park-A-Park’ by Julien Thomas, a small group of keen and nerdy public space lovers launched the 2013 VPSN PARK(ing) Day installation.
A variety of unique community partners were brought on board: CityStudio, Modo Car, and Tradeworks along with key project leads Alexandra (Zanny) Venner, Stewart Burgess, Kathleen Corey, and Ken Lum. Numerous volunteers then collaborated to transform two parking spots outside of Japadog on Robson Street into a vibrant, musical and ‘woody’ community space for the day.
Using recycled wood and pallets to create an intimate space for passersby’s and downtown residents, our upcycled parking space became a place for people to sit, read, eat, talk, rest, meet new people, play the piano, and engage in art. A base ‘woody’ surface was designed and built in an East Vancouver backyard supported the CityStudio’s ‘Long Table’ and Polka-Dot piano, along with Ken Lum’s mobile art cart and Robert Beckenwermert’s covered wagon.
It’s not everyday you see people play a piano in a street parking space or eat lunch there too. But such ‘odd’ transformations are the ones that inspire transformations of the urban environment, particularly under-valued public spaces.
What can you imagine in that parking space outside of your window?
No need to wait till next year, lets keep the love for PARK(ing) Day alive with more clever, creative and engaging urban interventions.
For more information about our project partners, please visit: