Parking Day 2013, with a different approach

Parking Day 2013 has just been held around the world. Chances are you probably never heard about it: people occupy for some time during the day what usually is a parking space, turning it into a public, green space of some sort. There have been several variations, the simplest one beeing that you insert a coin i a parkmeter and simply use what is suposed to be a space for a car to, instead, park some green elements, or even just a green rug, just to make people think about how much of the urban space is devoted to cars.

Among other blogs, I do follow, a site in which Victoria Okoye gives a vision of what urbanism is in Accra (Ghana), a very different context to the one in which I live; or rather, in a very different context to the one that the place in which I live is experiencing nowadays, as many of the things she writes about seem quite connected to what any european country probably experienced during the transition from rural to urban societies. In a certain way, she forces us readers to think about what urbanism really is, as connected to solving the needs of citizens.

So, they had this project in a Car Park in Accra, which was conceived before thinking of Parking Day. Sure, it is an ephemeral thing, but it involved a lot of planning: convincing the site owner, bringing all the tyres and the rest of the elements, integrating some community participation… Has this meant something for the residents? I think that only time can tell, but trying is already much more than what many do. So congratulations, Victoria and your bunch of people!

Parking Day 2012

Parking Day 2011, Vigo (Spain), according to


Parking Day is an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks.  It is presented as an open source event. Conceived by Rebar, a San Francisco based design studio, its aim is to raise awareness about the amount of public space used by cars. The idea is simple: once you have paid in the parcmeter, you have a right to use the space for a given time, and it is only up to you to decide whether you want to use it to leave a car of other use.

In 2012 it was yesterday, 21 September. Since the first time in San Francisco, and according to the manual, metered parking has hosted wedding ceremonies, worm composting demos, public parks, free health care clinics, glass recycling, political campaigns,  public kiddie pools, and all sorts of uses. There is also a manifesto. In some american cities, as in Philadelphia, it is becoming a relevant movement.