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PARK(ing): Taking Back Parking Space for Public Space

In 2005, a San Francisco art and design studio called Rebar converted a metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown SF. PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement and led to permanent "parklets" popping up all over the city.

Photo of Amy Benziger
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Living in San Francisco since 2005, it's been amazing to watch ordinary citizens take back their public spaces through the creation of " parklets." I've watched friends turn metered spaces outside of coffee shops into tiny public farms complete with hay bales to sit on and the requisite pig to play with (true story!). I've also seen as small businesses have created public spaces for customers to enjoy a meal in the sunshine and residential owners create spaces for people to break and watch the world go by. San Francisco now has a dozen permanent parklets. Nearby Oakland is now accepting applications for permanent parklets as well and on PARK(ing) Day cities from Cape Town to Stockholm to Sydney took the opportunity to take back parking space for public space. 

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