Gallery: Talking Public Space and Urban Intervention With San Francisco...

 

INHABITAT: Have you found working with the public sector to be challenging?

MATT: We have a great relationship with the City. They often move projects along more slowly than the private sector, which can occasionally be frustrating, but we’ve found that in San Francisco and many other cities, there are a lot of people in bureaucracy who understand contemporary urban issues and are working diligently and creatively to make cities better. They’re surprisingly open and interested in temporary interventions and guerilla tactics and community-based design as ways to achieve strategic planning objectives. The "Cabinet National Library" houses a file cabinet full of back issues of Cabinet Magazine in a small landholding in rural New Mexico.

INHABITAT: How did Rebar get its start?

MATT: Rebar started around a project called the Cabinet National Library. We were inspired by an art magazine in Brooklyn called Cabinet, which had bought a piece of land in New Mexico on eBay and invited cultural events and installations to occur on the land. I actually to them  a “National Library,” which would be a file cabinet in an earthen berm that would house all the back issues of their magazine. They thought that was great and hilarious. At the time, one of my friends, John Bela, was in graduate school studying landscape architecture, and we started talking about this project. We eventually developed a plan, and we built it in 2004. Following that very fruitful collaboration, we decided to create an organization, call ourselves Rebar, and pursue more projects. The second project was “PARK(ing),” which evolved into Park(ing) Day. Once that project blew up, there were so many opportunities, and so much interest in our work, that we really needed to form an organization and develop ourselves creatively.

INHABITAT: What can you tell me about the inspiration behind Park(ing) Day, and how is Rebar staying involved as the project grows?

MATT: We first did [PARK(ing) Day] on Mission Street, here in San Francisco. It started with occupying one parking space for two hours, which was the term of the lease offered on the face of the parking meter.

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