By Marisa Novara and MPC Research Assistant Jason Brown
October 2, 2013

For the past few years, Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has been covering the evolving phenomenon of Park(ing) Day, the third Friday in September that is now celebrated globally as a day to take back the streets by temporarily claiming parking spaces as people places. Park(ing) Day is not only a fun opportunity to play with urban space in a different way, but also a challenge for cities to think about their design on a human scale, to move away from car-oriented planning policies and to highlight local cultural and commercial assets.

It’s great to see that MPC is not alone in championing these values. In the past few years, Park(ing) Day has provided the platform to prove that these ideas are global phenomena. As you can imagine, there are many ways to approach public space development, but there are some specific examples from around the world that encourage us to activate by advocating, collaborating and evencompeting to create better places for our region’s residents. In this series, MPC will examine how these three different methods played out across the world.

Advocate:  Jakarta and Munich

Reclaiming parking for people in Jakarta, Indonesia by ITDP Indonesia

For their third year, the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) in Jakarta, Indonesia has partnered with local eco-minded organizations to activate parking places with simple touches of astroturf, some picnic tables and of course a few posters informing the public about how we should rethink space. While some installations take a passive approach, transforming the parking space into a relaxing getaway, ITDP Indonesia is not content unless their participants leave as activists. This year ITDP partnered with Ruang Publik Jakarta (Public Space Jakarta) and sigit.kusumawijaya | architect & urbandesigner to host parks in Cikini, a central commercial district, where they easily caught the public’s and the press’ attention. ITDP led a Virtual Parking Day tweet campaign throughout the day informing their followers about the concept, background and goals of Park(ing) Day. Priscilla Fabiola, communications associate at ITDP Indonesia explained that the social media campaign helped expand the conversations beyond the parking spaces themselves, led to positive responses from around the nation, and allowed anyone to participate in an open-source fashion.

Toasting to change in Munich by Mary Schmidt

Across a continent or two, advocates were rallying in Munich, Germany around carsharing and bike parking in their city. Green City, a local organization that has coordinated the network of “park-ers” since 2008, rallied the park-ers and staked out spaces along Fraunhoferstrasse and its side streets and campaigned for a long-term reconfiguration of the district to include more bicycle parking and car-share locations. Almost half of the 30 parklets in Munich cropped up on or near Fraunhoferstrasse to bring attention to the area. Green City’s goal was to promote the eco-minded carsharer Stattauto, while educating the public about carsharing options and gathering their opinions. One installation featured a voting wall where people could answer yes or no questions such as “Do you need to own a car in Munich?” and “Is car sharing an alternative to owning a car?” Gaby Kourkgy from Green City admits that it’s been hard to see real changes take place from an annual event, but she has high hopes that “people realize that cars take too much space in Munich,” and that “people get to know the carsharing system and sell their cars.”

High hopes for necessary changes.


Published by The Connector on October 2, 2013