How would our cities be if there was more space dedicated to people and less space dedicated to cars? Park(ing) Day is a global event that attempts to answer this question by transforming metered parking bays into temporary public spaces.
Last year, Johannesburg hosted its first Park(ing) Day. Different activities were held in park(ing) bays on Juta street in Braamfontein. Visitors and passers-by were invited to engage in a critical debate about the city or, simply invited to enjoy the temporary park(ing) space to play and relax in.
For one day, people walking in Braamfontein could join public talks, a self-built furniture workshop, photo screening on the walls of the neighbouring buildings, live music, a game of chess, an inflatable swimming pool, or simply sit on a bench in a parking bay transformed into a park with grass and trees (see parkingdayjohannesburg.wordpress.com/ for all the activities and more details).
This year, Park(ing) Day will take place on September 19 all over the world. The Park(ing) Day Johannesburg Team would like to make this occasion bigger and more inclusive than last year’s event. An open call has been made in Johannesburg for people to join the event and host their own Park(ing) bays in the city with the aim to populate the city with as many Park(ing) bays as possible to expand the message of the event and extend its reach to the people of Johannesburg.
Parallel to the individual activities in each Park(ing) bay, a route will be organized, encouraging people to move from one spot to the other using public transport, bicycles or by walking. The inclusion of this route aims to encourage debate around topics of mobility, connectivity and accessibility in an ever sprawling suburban Johannesburg; these themes are critical in a metro where 42 percent of commuters use private vehicle transport and another 42 percent use mini-bus taxis to get to work each day.
Park(ing) day is a playful yet critical public intervention with an ethos of encouraging active citizenship in public public space in the city.
Join the facebook group to continue discussions and share ideas on Park(ing) Day in Johannesburg.
Join the event.
Main image: Banksy mural.
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