Park(ing) Day is a national and worldwide phenomenon that serves to reclaim dedicated vehicular spaces for pedestrians. Even more importantly, it brings communities together. In 2011, WRT’s San Francisco office hosted a parking spot outside of their Townsend Street building, welcoming visitors from adjacent offices, bicycle commuters, and nearby university students. Additionally, the office distributed free cloth bags made by Green Bag Lady of Nashville. The group makes reusable bags from surplus, donated fabrics to encourage reliance on “fabric” rather than plastic. The parking spot was located along a well-travelled transit, pedestrian, vehicular route, and bike lane, thus capturing the traffic and attention of a variety of passers-by.
San Francisco’s Park(ing) Day embodies several tenets which WRT upholds as a firm and as individuals. The location of the parking spot shows our dedication to “Complete Streets,” with a variety of transportation modes acknowledged. The design itself shows our emphasis on creating spaces, large and small, that bring people together both to animate the public realm and build community bonds. Finally, by featuring the bags, we demonstrated several aspects of sustainability that underlie our approach to design: encouraging reduced consumption and material reuse, empowering and uniting diverse groups, and including an artistic, creative approach to solving problems. We carry this message in our everyday lifestyles and in each design and planning intervention in our practice.
Original PARK(ing) Day concept by Rebar.