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PARK(ing) Day 2009: Parking Spaces Around the Globe to Be Temporarily Reclaimed for People

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In cities around the globe tomorrow, artists, activists and citizens will temporarily transform metered parking spaces into public parks and other social spaces, as part of an annual event called "PARK(ing) Day."

Originally invented in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, PARK(ing) Day challenges people to rethink the way streets are used and reinforces the need for broad-based changes to urban infrastructure. "In urban centers around the world, inexpensive curbside parking results in increased traffic, wasted fuel and more pollution," says Rebar's Matthew Passmore. "The strategies that generated these conditions are not sustainable, nor do they promote a healthy, vibrant urban human habitat. PARK(ing) Day is about re-imagining the possibilities of the metropolitan landscape."

Since 2005, the project has blossomed into a worldwide grassroots movement: PARK(ing) Day 2008 included more than 500 "PARK" installations in more than 100 cities on four continents. This year, the project continues to expand to urban centers across the globe, including first-time PARK installations in South Africa, Poland, Norway, New Zealand and South Korea. "Urban inhabitants worldwide recognize the need for new approaches to making the urban landscape," says Rebar's John Bela. "PARK(ing) Day demonstrates that even temporary or interim spatial reprogramming can improve the character of the city."

Over the four years of PARK(ing) Day, participants have broadened the scope of PARK installations to fulfill a range of unmet social needs. "From public parks to free health clinics, from art galleries to demonstration gardens, PARK(ing) Day participants have claimed the metered parking space as a rich new territory for creative experimentation, activism, socializing and play," says Blaine Merker of Rebar.

"While PARK(ing) Day may be temporary," Merker adds, "the image of possibility it offers has lasting effects and is shifting the way streets are perceived and utilized."

In San Francisco, Rebar will deploy its "PARKcycle" -- a pedal-powered mobile park, capable of delivering public green space where and when it is needed. "This year we're going to outfit the PARKcycle with a new type of park. We are keeping the details secret, but we'll be out pedaling around and visiting other PARK(ing) Day installations around the city," says Rebar's Teresa Aguilera. "If you live or work in San Francisco, keep your eyes open for a twenty-two foot long park pedaling through the streets. It will be hard to miss," she adds.

PARK(ing) Day is a grassroots, "open-source" invention built by independent groups around the globe who adapt the project to champion creative, social or political causes that are relevant to their local urban conditions. Rebar has exhibited PARK(ing) Day at venues worldwide, including at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale, ISEA 2009 Dublin, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the American Institute of Architects and the Van Alen Institute in New York.

More information regarding local PARK(ing) Day activities and a global map of all participating cities are available on the PARK(ing) Day Network at http://my.parkingday.org.

About Rebar (www.rebargroup.org). Founded in 2004 in San Francisco, Rebar is an internationally recognized art and design studio operating at the intersection of art, design and activism.

    Contact:
    Matthew Passmore, Rebar
    415-676-9035
    [email protected]

SOURCE Rebar

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