Presidio of San Francisco (September 27, 2009)
-- In cities around the globe today, artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called "PARK(ing) Day."
In San Francisco, the Presidio Trust in cooperation with Presidio Sports Basement and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy will create a PARKing space in the Sports Basement parking lot on 610 Mason along Crissy Field from 8:30 am through 7 pm. The project will feature native plants from the Presidio Nursery, and transform a one car parking space into a native plant showcase.
The former parking space will highlight plants that may be used as part of the Doyle Drive Reconstruction Project, which will eventually transform the parking lot into a park bluff, and create new open space reconnecting the waterfront to the Presidio. “The Presidio Trust hopes to remove excess asphalt that the Army left behind and continue to create more open space in the park,” said Chris Weeks, Transportation Operations Specialist for the Presidio Trust.
Visitors to the Presidio PARKing space can take a comfortable seat amongst the kind of trees, wildflowers and other plants that once grew in areas across the city. “The experience is sure to leave visitors with a deepened sense of place as San Franciscans,” added Damien Raffa, Education Program Manager for the Presidio Trust.
Originally invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure. “In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution,” says Rebar’s Matthew Passmore. “The strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant urban human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the metropolitan landscape.”
Since 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2008 included more than 500 “PARK” installations in more than 100 cities on four continents. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe, including first-time PARK installations in South Africa, Poland, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea. “Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making the urban landscape,” says Rebar’s John Bela. “PARK(ing) Day demonstrates that even temporary or interim spatial reprogramming can improve the character of the city.”
Over the four years of PARK(ing) Day, participants have broadened the scope of PARK installations to fulfill a range of unmet social needs. “From public parks to free health clinics, from art galleries to demonstration gardens, PARK(ing) Day participants have claimed the metered parking space as a rich new territory for creative experimentation, activism, socializing and play,” says Blaine Merker of Rebar.
“While PARK(ing) Day may be temporary,” Merker adds, “the image of possibility it offers has lasting effects and is shifting the way streets are perceived and utilized.”
PARK(ing) Day is a grassroots, “open-source” invention built by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to champion creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their local urban conditions. Rebar has exhibited PARK(ing) Day at venues worldwide, including at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, ISEA 2009 Dublin, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the American Institute of Architects and the Van Alen Institute in New York.
More information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities and a global map of all participating cities are available on the PARK(ing) Day Network at http://my.parkingday.org
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to oversee the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains expansive open space and spectacular views, a 300-acre historic forest, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It also comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District.
About Rebar (www.rebargroup.org
). Founded in 2004 in San Francisco, Rebar is an internationally recognized art and design studio operating at the intersection of art, design and activism.