From Car Spaces to People Places: PARK(ing) Day is returning to Phoenix

PARK(ing) Day is returning to downtown Phoenix on Friday, September 17th. Building on the success of last years efforts, I have gathered several community members, neighborhood leaders and urbanites who are ready to step up to the curb, put a quarter in the meter, and transform curbside metered parking spots into temporary public parks.

When they do, they will join artists and activists all over the globe for PARK(ing) Day 2010. This annual, one-day event promotes green and public spaces in the urban core.  It helps people rethink the way we use our streets and creates diverse conversations about how we can make sustainable cities. This concept of PARK(ing) Day is that putting money into a parking meter is like renting a public space.

History of PARK(ing) Day

Since its founding in San Francisco in 2005, PARK(ing) Day  has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day events have included more than 500 “PARK” installations in more than 100 cities on four continents, including 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 John Bela of Rebar, the San Francisco design agency that founded the effort.

PARK(ing) Day demonstrates that even temporary or interim spatial reprogramming can improve the character of the city.

Over PARK(ing) Day’s history, 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 Rebar‘s Blaine Merker.

While PARK(ing) Day may be temporary, the image of possibility it offers has lasting effects and is shifting the way streets are perceived and utilized.

PARK(ing) Day Phoenix is an opportunity to create community, engage the public and begin a dialogue on topics ranging from city parks and public space to the environment to mobility options and community improvement projects. Well-known urban activist and author Jane Jacobs wrote in The Death and Life of Great American Cities that, to create a safe, prosperous and worth living in, one must start with “lively and interesting streets.”

Calling all Urbanites!

PARK(ing) Day Phoenix 2009 by Yuri Artibise, Placemaker and Urbanist

Image by YuriArtibise via Flickr

All Phoenicians are invited to get creative and join the effort—for an hour or two, or all day if you’d like. All you need to do is come up with ideas for a ‘temporary park,’ gather items to fit that theme, invite your friends to take part, and show up ready to be part of the movement.

All Phoenicians are invited to get creative and join the effort—for an hour or two, or all day if you’d like. All you need to do is come up with ideas for a ‘temporary park,’ gather items to fit that theme, invite your friends to take part, and show up ready to be part of the movement.

To help kick-start your efforts, theme ideas include a mini-dog park, a yoga space, a place to hang while you eat breakfast or chat with friends over coffee. Be sure to bring enough change to plug the meters!

Last year, we set up along First Street south of Fillmore, handed out breakfast goodies, blew bubbles, drank coffee, hung out in comfy chairs, adorned their spaces with plants, university memorabilia and other comforts of a park. We made new friends and transformed the urban experience, if even for just a few hours.

This year I will be part of a team who will be setting up on Adams Street, between Central and 1st Ave (next to Light Rail and next to Baja Fresh, Coney Island and Thai Elephant) (map).  If you are living in Phoenix, I hope you can stop by and support us. Or, better yet, get your friends, business or organization together and create your own PARK(ing) space!

So far, we have several groups other groups interested in participating.  The University of Arizona College of Medicine, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership Ambassadors and an Arizona State University “Art Action” team will be setting up their own spots in downtown Phoenix.  On Adams St, we will be joined by  the CO+HOOTS co-working crew; a ‘political park’; and several other people who will be hanging out with us.

We’ll be doing it first thing in the morning (7-10am), to avoid the mid-day heat, so feel free to stop by on he way to work!

Find Out More

I have have set up a Facebook Fan Page and a separate Event Page for RSVPs.

The press release is HERE.

For more details on PARK(ing) Day in general, visit www.ParkingDay.org.

Also feel free to contact me directly.


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Yuri Artibise

Yuri Artibise is an experienced policy analyst, community engagement practitioner and social media specialist. I have a Master of Public Administration degree with over 10 years of public policy research, analysis, and advocacy experience.