The third Friday in September marks the 5th annual Park[ing] Day, celebrated across the globe. From San Francisco to San Juan and in between, people will be taking over ordinary parking spaces to demonstrate the need for more public space in cities.
PARK[ing] Day started as a collaborative art project with the group REBAR in San Francisco. What was one group’s side project has turned into a global phenomenon, as people across the continents have teamed up to take back the asphalt, if only for one day.
According to the group’s website, “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 … at least until the meter runs out!”
PARK[ing] Day has since been adapted and remixed to address a variety of social issues in diverse urban contexts around the world, and the project continues to expand to include interventions and experiments well beyond the basic “tree-bench-sod” park typology first modeled by REBAR.
In recent years, participants have built free health clinics, planted temporary urban farms, produced ecology demonstrations, held political seminars, built art installations, opened free bike repair shops and even held a wedding ceremony! All this in the context of this most modest urban territory – the metered parking space.
Cincinnati has participated in the movement for the past four years with community members setting up in the Central Business District, Over-the-Rhine, and Uptown neighborhoods. These Cincinnatians have taken the few basic guidelines for PARK[ing] Day to create an open-source project and creation completely of their own making.
Last year UrbanCincy was on the scene as several parking spaces throughout Over-the-Rhine were transformed. UrbanCincy will once again be back this year with its own space (or two) outside of Park+Vine (map) from 10am to 4pm. I hope you will come and join me at our little community space.
Cafe de Wheels will be just down the road at Court and Vine streets offering a free beverage, with the rest of their purchase, to those who mention PARK[ing] Day. Get your food there and then bring it up to our urban oasis where we will have a couple tables, chairs, and more. Plus at the end of the day, you can keep the fun going by helping Park+Vine move to their new location on Main Street at 6pm.