The first installation of PARK(ing) Day in downtown Dallas was a success in 2011. During the event on September 16th, 35 installations converted 50 on-street parking spaces into parks, performance areas and community space. Some of the installations showcased inspiring design from students and design firms, while others educated the community through informational displays. Music and entertainment attracted passers-by to stop and take in the moment, and some spaces simply provided a relaxed atmosphere to socialize and connect with neighbors.
The purpose of PARK(ing) Day is to create discussion about the use of public space in our communities. Since the event was held on a busy Friday in the heart of downtown Dallas, the usual routine of a work day was disrupted temporarily. Spaces normally reserved for cars were alive with a myriad of activities — a 10×20 space usually filled with one vehicle could contain seating for 10, a miniature museum or a pop-up book shop. Sidewalks were filled with curious downtown visitors longing for a change of pace. Business executives, students, downtown residents and even the homeless all shared these new spaces together. Even the riders of passing public transportation pressed against windows to watch the activity.
The installations disappeared just as quickly as they popped up, being a temporal demonstration of what can happen when a community “reclaims” their public space. As spaces were disassembled one-by-one, vehicles immediately returned to occupy the street. Although the transformations were temporary, creative ideas and community connections remained after the event. Paired with similar demonstrations taking root in Dallas, these events may lead to a long-term re-thinking of our community’s streets and how we activate our city’s public spaces.
Globally, there were over 924 PARKs in 160 cities across 35 countries in September 2011! Thanks for making PARK(ing) Day Dallas a successful event; we hope to see you in 2012!
CLICK HERE to view photos of PARK(ing) Day Dallas
CLICK HERE for media coverage of PARK(ing) Day Dallas 2011