International PARK(ing) Day

Sep 15, 2013
Photo courtesy of Rebar Group

Photo courtesy of Rebar Group

It began in 2005 when a San Francisco art and design studio, Rebar, took over a single metered parking space and transformed it into a “temporary public park.”

In a traditionally-sized 7′ x 20′ parking space, Rebar rolled out some sod, heaved and positioned a potted tree (yes, a tree, not a shrub), as well as a wooden bench, had a good, relaxing sit, then when the meter flashed red, they rolled up the sod, heaved the tree and bench up and into the bed of a pick up truck, gave their spot a good sweep, and continued with their day.

Given the state of social media, the photo of the event went viral and soon requests came from people wanting a “parking spot park” in their hometowns. Rebar chose to release their creation into the universe, declaring it an “open-source” project. They did, however, create a how-to manual and in the intervening years, people have taken this concept and run with it: free health clinics, temporary urban farms, political seminars, art installations, free bike repair, and even a wedding ceremony have been held in PARK(ing) spots.

The original parking space; photo courtesy of Rebar Group

The original parking space; photo courtesy of Rebar Group

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of the urban habitat…at least until the meter runs out! (

On Friday, September 20th, the Pasadena Playhouse District is taking part in this phenomena by transforming two parking spaces into what they are calling “parklets.”

Outside of Vroman’s and Zeli’s Coffee will be “an urban oasis” with stories by Mr. Steve (noon to 2 p.m.) followed by local watercolor artist Pete Morris painting “an event day inspired piece.”

Across the street at Yahaira’s (Arcade Lane), a pop up restaurant will offer quesadillas, ice tea and non-alcoholic sangria, “complete with bales of hay and colorful festival decor.”

“The Playhouse District Association is proud to install two temporary parks on International Parking Day. By doing so, we are part of a global initiative that will create 975 temporary parks in 162 cities within 35 countries. We are part of bringing people together locally and around the world,” says Erlinda Romo, PDA Executive Director.

Grab your beach or camping chair, maybe event the fold up chaise, stock a cooler, load up on quarters, drop in at Vroman’s and buy a book or the day’s newspaper, and find your own space—become parklet #976…

PARK(ing) Day
Friday September 20th, noon-4 p.m.
Colorado Blvd. between El Molino and Oak Knoll, Pasadena 91101

Rolling out the sod; photo courtesy of Rebar Group

Rolling out the sod; photo courtesy of Rebar Group




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