It’s parking space time

Any public parking space can be prime real estate: well-located, easy to access, convenient. You rent the space out for a given time while you park your car – but surely you could engage in other activities while there? You’ve paid your money; the space is yours for two hours; why not have a barbecue, or play a game of chess, have a picnic… even open a short-term public park?


This was the premise behind PARK(ing), by the San Francisco-based group Rebar (also responsible for the Cabinet National Library – a filing cabinet in the middle of the desert).
As Rebar writes, “more than 70% of San Francisco’s downtown outdoor space is dedicated to the private vehicle, while only a fraction of that space is allocated to the public realm. Feeding the meter of a parking space enables one to rent precious downtown real estate, typically on a 1/2 hour to 2 hour basis. What is the range of possible occupancy activities for this short-term lease?”
How about “a metered parking spot for public recreational activity”? In other words, a temporary public park.
Take a look:


Rebar’s caption for that last photograph is: “the need for green open space is apparent.” Indeed.

11 thoughts on “It’s parking space time”

  1. I still like the idea of a temporary public grill. Come get your burgers. Or a temporary lending library, uniting Rebar’s two most recent themes.
    A temporary beer-pong stadium.
    Or if the CIA runs out of government funding they can drop some quarters for a few K Street parking spaces, throw up a couple soundproof black sheets and get to work…

  2. Not sure if you encountered this while living in Chicago, but the CHAIR phenomenon is a pretty insane urban experience come snowfall. I remember one winter, the blizzard really seemed to pull the neighborhood (ukrainian village) together, because as each car consecutively got stuck, every car behind them had to pull out their shovels and collectively dig a new spot and push them into it. But in the morning, as cars went off to work, the CHAIRS appeared — from flimsy lawn chairs to ratty loveseats — saving people’s labored spaces on a public street. And they stayed for days after the snow melted. Streets were pretty much empty mid-day, but there were no parking spots because of this massive living room landscape. It definitely fed along gentrification lines — these were actions by the neighborhood natives, and my lights got smashed when I thought, on a warm, sunny, snowless day, that it wouldn’t matter if I moved a chair and sat my car in a spoken-for space …

  3. I think it’s a clever attempt but if the whole concept is about the space being used for 1/2 to 2 hours (and potentially refilling the meter) it doesn’t seem temporary enough

  4. You could just put in a dime… get ten minutes. But what constitutes a “temporary” space if 2 hours is too long? You could streak it. Take all your clothes off. That would be less than a second. Or build a neutrino detector – a matter of nanoseconds at that point.

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