Park(ing) Spot Picnic at the Curiosity Shoppe.

Yesterday was Park(ing) Day, an all-day long event that converted paved parking places across the US into verdant refuges. Since its inception in 2005, the concept mavens at ReBar have watched their Park(ing) baby evolve from a simple green two-hour takeover of a metered parking spot to an international network of wild streetside hangouts– a kind of Burning Man for sustainable urban spaces, if you will. Though much of the prep activity for Park(ing) Day 2008 involves group pickups of rolls of grass, the event has come to exhibit more than sod blanketed over hardscape, and this year participants rolled out new and unusual uses for the pavement.

parking day 2008, parking day san francisco, urban art, urban space, community development, sustainable design, public land, ritual roastersGolden Owl Park at Ritual Roasters.

For last year’s event, ReBar built a PARKcycle to tour the temporary Parks in San Francisco. It used the classic Park(ing) Day park materials– sod, a tree and a park bench. As a mobile green space, the PARKcycle made the city’s roads a little more habitable by offering 4,320 square feet of green space everywhere it went.

As the event has grown, different non-profit organizations, neighborhood groups, landscaping firms and random groups of friends have gone beyond the park model to creatively address issues of green urban living. This year’s participating parks featured communal chill-out zones, streetside barbeques, nightclubs, art installations, and just plain layabout grass. Altogether, Park(ing) day involved some 400 temporary parks in 70 cities in the U.S.

This fall ReBar will be taking their designs for a mobile park and an auto parts band shell to the Venice Biennale. In the meantime, more and more folks join the Park(ing) – ers on the streets, turning car spots into front-porch gatherings and spaces to re-examine city life.

Photos by Mike Chino. Check out Inhabitat’s Flickr for the full set.

+ PARK(ing) Day

+ Rebar Group

+ Architecture and the City