Portfolio Orange right arrow PARK(ing)

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Valuable urban real estate, reprogrammed

One of the more critical issues facing outdoor urban human habitat is the dearth of space for humans to rest, relax, or just do nothing. For example, more than 70% of San Francisco’s downtown outdoor space is dedicated to the private vehicle, while only a fraction of that space is allocated to the public realm.

Paying the meter of a parking space enables one to rent precious downtown real estate. What is the range of possible occupancy activities for this short-term lease? PARK(ing) is an investigation into reprogramming a typical unit of private vehicular space by leasing a metered parking spot for public recreational activity.

On November 16, 2005  we identified a site in an area of downtown San Francisco that is underserved by public outdoor space and is in an ideal, sunny location between the hours of noon and 2 p.m. There we installed a small, temporary public park that provided nature, seating, and shade.

Our goal 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  afternoon.

This simple two hour intervention has blossomed into an international event called Park(ing) Day where people around the globe reclaim the streets for people, for fun, and for play.

Date: November 16, 2005
Location: 1st and Mission Streets, San Francisco, CA