Students displaying their prototypes for a better urban future at the Stanford Global Cities 2016 Conference. Top: WePlay piezoelectric urban playgrounds; Bottom Left: Composting toilets for cities like SF that sorely lack access; Bottom Right: ArtsUp, pop-up performing arts events in unconventional or free venues. 

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. 

DIY Upcycled Travelling Picnic Blanket 

Its summer, which means its time to sit outdoors quaffing beer and delicately spearing olives with a toothpick. The challenge is getting comfortable on hot sand, pigeon-y urban concrete, scratchy drought-dried grass (for us Californians) and splintery decks. The answer is a cute, compact picnic blanket that rolls into a neat little burrito (and can even be tied onto your bike’s crossbar) and costs just about $4 to make. Your local thrift store or Goodwill has this strange section no one ever goes to, full of household linens. Score yourself a cute curtain or sheet for a liner and a thicker blanket or curtain for the bottom side and you’ve got yourself fifty percent of the way to this DIY picnic blanket. Head over to Inhabitat to read the whole step-by-step instructional by yours truly! 

NOW SF Festival – April 2015

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a group of early morning yogis and yoginis enjoying the momentary break in the fog. 

last week, i had the pleasure of attending and co-creating a bunch of fun events for the NOWSF festival – check out more on the festival here and here – a DIY neighborhood public space activation festival, which was open source and totally free. all the events focused on creating a sense of fun in the general panhandle neighborhood, getting to know new friends and neighbors, being active, and sharing ideas, music, and art. 

i teamed up with fellow Yoga Garden alumna Court Green for an early AM yoga session by the McKinley statue, complete with sun rays breaking through just in time for child’s pose and savasana. 

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jonathan and and i teamed up to celebrate our one-week wedding anniversay with “wiggle treat”, a pop-up bike-in happy hour with hot cocoa and homemade ginger snaps for cyclists biking directly into a stiff 15 knot wind on their ride home from work on friday. 

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we rolled that clankety bar cart all the way from our house, assaulting the ears of everyone in the neighborhood. unfortunately, the thermos didn’t work either, so we didn’t serve very much hot cocoa. so, we gave out cookies instead and focused on sharing the genuine SelfiStick (actual wood, wedding gift from Cresa) with friends and passersby. 

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maybe there are some new customers for this piece of functional social commentary. we teamed up with some other NOW festivalers to create a one-stop fun shop on the edge of the panhandle – giant crossword puzzle, free flowers, AND the wiggle treat cart! 

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we talked to lots of interesting people and even gave away bike-by flowers!

finally, was one more yoga class – a thursday evening class that was cut a little short by the extreme chilling winds that rake from the beach toward downtown at that time of day. teaming up with lovely canadian cynthia for a team taught class with lots of wide-legged forward folds and an extremely short, shivery meditation and savasana. 

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see you around the neighborhood! 

*note – not sure why my photos in this post are displaying all wonky and stretched. this is a new issue, working on it!