PARK(ing) Day

PREVIEW Screw the consumerism of Christmas, the war imagery of Independence Day, and the inevitable disappointment of New Year’s Eve. Our favorite holiday of the year is PARK(ing) Day, when individuals and groups around the world turn metered parking spots into the playgrounds of their dreams. Started in 2005 by the SF art and design collective Rebar, the event takes advantage of a legal loophole that allows any (legal) use of parking spots as long as the meter gets paid. (Think of it as miniature, short-term space rental.) Want kiddie pools and pink flamingos on Valencia Street? Sod and benches outside a Haight Street shop? A mobile grassy knoll taking up residence in the mayor’s parking spot? It’s all fair game. Nearly five years in, the idea has become so popular that, on certain city boulevards, a stroll on PARK(ing) Day can feel like a street festival — minus the annoying commerce (if people are playing by Rebar’s rules). One part fun, one part frivolity, and two parts commentary on the way we use urban space, this open source project makes an ordinary workday … ahem … a walk in the park.

PARK(ING) DAY Fri/18. Find information, maps, and instructions on how to construct your own park at www.parkingday.org>.