Park(ing) Day

Did you know?

More than 80% of all public space in cities is streets with the majority of that space being allocated to vehicles. Park(ing) Day asks the question, is this how we want to use our public space?

Thanks to Donald Shoup, the dialogue about the economic implications of dedicating so much of our public infrastructure to the automobile has continued to gain momentum. By giving so much of our public space away to be used for free private vehicle storage, the economic incentives sway toward this use.

Kids playing slow down
Park(ing) Day event in Boise’s North End

As one of the largest forms of public space, our streets can be used for more than just moving people and storing vehicles. Our streets can be places to relax and gather.

Temporary street closures, such as play streets, block parties or street fairs for example, demonstrate the varied ways in which a city’s streets may be utilized. Park(ing) Day is another example of a temporary reimaging of our streets.

This year Park(ing) Day will take place on September 20, 2019, and across the globe parking spaces will be temporarily transformed into small parks and other social spaces. This international event began in San Francisco in 2005 and has evolved into a tactical urbanist holiday. The Park(ing) Day Manual states,

Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making the urban landscape, and realize that converting small segments of the automobile infrastructure – even temporarily – can alter the character of the city.

Events like Park(ing) Day enrich our communities by creating inviting social spaces and by promoting spontaneous social interaction, fun and providing a space for creativity to thrive.

Boise Parking Day

Park(ing) Day as Tactical Urbanism

Defined as a low-cost, temporary change to the built environment, tactical urbanism is all about action. According to the Tactical Urbanist’s Guide,

This approach refers to a city, organizational, and/or citizen-led approach to neighborhood building using short-term, low-cost, and scalable interventions to catalyze long-term change.

By allowing users to walk through, touch and experience ideas, tactical urbanism can help with rapid prototyping of ideas and allow users to experience everyday spaces in a new way.

While Idaho is in its infancy when it comes to tactical urbanism, Park(ing) Day provides the perfect introduction to the idea of incremental change and DIY urbanism. Anyone can create a pop-up park to playfully reimagine what could be done with just some of the space usually dedicated to private vehicle storage.

Ready to get involved?

Consider creating a parklet in your neighborhood, or work with your employer to plan one near your office. There are contacts around the state that have coordinated parklets in the past, if you would like to get connected with these resources, reach out to us. Idaho Smart Growth also has a limited number of parklet supplies available for anyone interested in putting together a parklet. Contact our office for more information.

Our goal is to create a map of Park(ing) Day events around the state. If you are coordinating a location, send us your event information to be included!

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