For the ninth straight year, an international event celebrating the transformation of public space is coming to Philadelphia. PARK(ing) Day
, held worldwide on the third Friday of September, invites individuals and groups to temporarily repurpose a city parking space for relaxation, play and education. The 2016 incarnation is happening citywide on Friday, September 16 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Founded by the San Francisco-based Rebar Group
in 2005, PARK(ing) Day came to Philly in 2008. The next year, the local Center for Architecture and Design
(CAD) took the event under its umbrella.
"It’s certainly grown," says CAD Associate Director David Bender. In 2015, there were approximately 60 participating teams, up from about 25 in 2008. A wide variety of groups create spaces with themes from local history to stormwater management to neighborhood revitalization. Some simply repurpose what is usually a parking space into a miniature day-long oasis for anyone passing by.
CAD has even instituted a special prize: the Golden Cone Award. The five categories vary by year based on what participants dream up. Last year one of the winners was a parklet created by the North 5th Street Revitalization Project
-- it won for being the site furthest from Center City: about 57 blocks north.
"We’ll see if anyone gets even further than that [this] year," says Bender. "What’s great about Philadelphia in particular is that the Parking Authority has really come on board full force, and they encourage us to do this. Philadelphia sees the value in public spaces and we’ve got leadership that can see beyond their narrow mandate."
According to Bender, the major goals for the day are for the public to have fun, ro see the value of public space, and to "begin to question the way that our environment is designed, and if it’s designed in a way that best serves our community today."
PARK(ing) Day Philadelphia is presented by the CAD in partnership with the Philadelphia Parking Authority, AIA Philadelphia
, the Community Design Collaborative
and the Charter High School for Architecture and Design
. To celebrate, there will be food and music at a PARK(ing) Day after-party and awards ceremony from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Center for Architecture and Design (1218 Arch Street).
The deadline to register is Wednesday, August 31. More info and the required forms are available online.
: Alaina Mabaso
Source: David Bender, The Center for Architecture and Design