Play in the Garden: Park(ING) Day 2015

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Photo via Kerri Stimson // Yoga Garden SF

Park(ING) Day 2015 took place this past Friday, September 2015. In cities across the world, creative thinkers took part in this DIY celebration of rethinking public space. Park(ING) Day was originally dreamed up by local design collective REBAR back in 2005, when they created a “temporary public park” by rolling out a piece of astroturf and a couple chairs in a metered parking space in downtown San Francisco. 

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Today, Park(ING) Day has become a global event where citizens, artists, designers, and activists collaborate to temporarily transform a metered streetside parking space into a fun and enjoyable public space, helping neighbors and cities re-imagine how we allocate space in urban environments.  

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Every year, I’m inspired by the fun takes on Park(ING) Day around the city, so this year I decided it was time to participate. I teamed with yoga studio Yoga Garden SF and coffeeshop Repose Coffee to create a fun, temporary relaxation and play space on the busy Divisadero corridor in San Francisco. We invited neighbors to “Come Play in the Garden”. 

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Photo by Kerri Stimson // Yoga Garden SF

For three hours, a boring old metered parking space was transformed into a sunny, welcoming, space for conversation over a cup of coffee and playful yoga poses. 

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Friends, alumni, and teachers at Yoga Garden stopped by to teach students and passersby a few poses, including Boxing Yoga (above). 

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Drivers were surprised to see people doing acrobatic poses as they sat stopped at the traffic light. 

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Photo by Joy Liu Yoga

The novelty of the space and the location really inspired people to have fun with it. The unexpected nature of parklets, Park(ING) Day, and urban interventions allows people to see space in a different way. Its amazing how simply putting down a couple rugs, benches, and potted houseplants (which took all of ten minutes), completely changed the vibe and the use of the 17 foot space. 

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Yoga Garden owner Marisa stopped in to perfect her headstand. 

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Photo via Joy Liu Yoga

The sunny weather inspired visitors to get creative with their postures. 

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We made sure to pay for our “space rental” at the parking meter. 

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Photo via Kerri Stimson // Yoga Garden SFAgainst my expectations, no one complained about our fun temporary parklet, and in fact we had plenty of interested passersby asking about the initiative. My favorite visit of the day was the SFMTA parking control officer in his little 3-wheeled cart who stopped by to chat. I was concerned that he would ask us to move, but he had heard about Park(ING) Day already and was just stopping by to say hi and check it out. Check out other parklets from around the world from this year’s event here. 

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