May 22, 2012
Rebar, a group of artists, activists and designers implemented a small scale urbanist tactic in downtown San Francisco in the year 2005 called Park(ing). For two hours it occupied, with a lawn, a tree and a bench, a fourteen square metre parking space in a public parking area. With this action it converted an area set out for vehicle use into a space for resting, relaxing and socializing. Public response ranged from indifference to participation and unexpected conversations and spontaneous uses of the bench and the shade of the tree occurred. Two hours later Rebar took it all down and the parking space reverted to its initial state. Of this experiment only the photos and videos taken at the time remain. The action was quickly posted to the Internet and “(...) other groups prepared for guerrilla intervention appropriated this simple tactic. (...) The essence of the tactic was legal protest in a parking space using materials which had a symbolic association with parks: trees, grass and benches. Rebar considered the idea as open source and applied a Creative Commons license. Providing it is not used for financial gain, they encourage people to repeat it and re-interpret it.”1
1. Blaine Merker. “Taking place. Rebar’s absurd tactics in generous urbanism.” Insurgent Public Space: Guerrilla urbanism and the remaking of contemporary cities. Chapter 4. Routledge. 2010. Blaine Merker co-directs the group of designers and artists Rebar and is founder of Park(ing) Day.