PARK(ing) in Downtown


Land scarcity in downtowns in large metropolitan areas is often the cause for lack of open public space. The green spaces that have been created earlier on have not expanded or modified to reflect the changes in urbanity. Hence there is a need to create open spaces better if they are green wherever you might find the opportunity. Planners and urban designers often overlook the small lots or even smaller spaces within lots as a feasible option for green space. Citizens do not discriminate against the size of the open space although larger spaces may be more beneficial but availability of a space is better than nothing at all. Thinking on similar lines, the Rebar Group developed the concept of PARK(ing) that was completed last November and successfully tested for usability.

PARK(ing) is an investigation into reprogramming a typical unit of private vehicular space by leasing a metered parking spot for public recreational activity.

We identified a site in an area of downtown San Francisco that is underserved by public outdoor space and is in an ideal, sunny location between the hours of noon and 2 p.m.

There we installed a small, temporary public park that provided nature, seating, and shade. Our goal was to transform a parking spot into a PARK(ing) space, thereby temporarily expanding the public realm and improving the quality of urban human habitat, at least until the meter ran out.

Thus, PARK(ing) operated within available resources and made best use of what otherwise would have been an opportunity cost. I am sure with the growing amount of parking in otherwise dead downtowns, we could do with a little spot of green. Heck, we might be even willing to pay for it, as the PARK(ing) project seems to imply.