Parking spaces around the globe to be temporarily reclaimed for people
Tulsa, Oklahoma September 18, 2009 — In cities around the globe today, artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called “PARK(ing) Day.”
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.”
Shifting the way people perceive and utilize city streets and venues has been occurring for some time in Tulsa. AIA YAF, IIDA, AIA COTE, and THD are partnering with local businesses to transform parking spaces into beautiful green parks.
IIDA’s Tulsa City Center celebrates PARK(ing) Day with a “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”, transforming Urban Furnishings concrete patio into an exciting out door tea room. Admire Garden Deva’s garden art while sipping on some excellent new teas from Dragon Moon Tea Co located at 21st and Harvard. We will be giving out great prizes from 5-6pm so be sure to make this your first stop! Then visit AIA YAF’s ballPark located in the Brady district at the northeast corner of E. Archer and N. Boston. AIA YAF (AIA Eastern Oklahoma’s Young Architects Forum) welcomes ONEOK Field, the new home of the Tulsa Drillers, scheduled to open April 8, 2010. Nick Rhoades, Assoc. AIA, and a cadre of volunteers will transform an asphalt parking into a green field representing Tulsa’s first ballPARK. The ballPARK is open from 8:00 am to 7:00 p.m. where guests will receive a preview of the ONEOK Field as well as participate in batting competitions with prizes awarded in the evening. To further enhance your ballPARK experience, a Dog House cart will be at this location during the lunch hour.
The third park is presented by AIA COTE at the Coffee House on Cherry Street, 1502 E. 15th, featuring an installation of Zoysia grass and two 30 gallon trees will remain for an entire month. Friday there will be giveaways all day to promote Cherry Street.
Finally the fourth park created by tepera|hood design transforms a former gas island into an urban park complete with “forest canopy”. Celebrate the opening of their design studio with food, drinks and music starting at 7 o’clock.
“Reclaiming and enhancing a portion of Tulsa’s historic urban environment, if only for the day, is an opportunity that PARKing DAY provides to raise awareness that vibrant public spaces are needed to encourage civic participation, face-to-face interaction, and as a gathering place for public events”, says Nick Rhoades, local PARKing Day chairman.
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 can be found at aiaeok.org and a global map of all participating cities are available on the PARK(ing) Day Network at http://my.parkingday.org.