Photos by Charles Buenconsejo
On Friday 20 September 2019, Britomart's Tyler St was traffic-jammed with locals enjoying themselves in spaces usually occupied by cars. In six plant-strewn 'parklets' along the street, pedestrians sipped coffee on couches, beanbags and seats, or lay back on a cardboard-tube incline and contemplated a cloud of white balloons created by CAAHT Studio.
Park(ing) Day is a global event held annually on the third Friday of September. It started out in San Francisco when a group of people wondered if there were better uses for roadside spaces than parking cars. Now, every year the event asks people to consider what cities might be like if these spaces were given over to a different public use. In Britomart's Tyler Street, parking spaces were reimagined by six local design firms – CAAHT Studio, Peddle Thorp, Beca, Boffa Miskell, WSP Opus and Isthmus. The sociability of their installations was remarkable, as passersby stopped to ask questions about their purpose or, in many cases, were very happy just to take a seat. Even though these spaces had been reserved for cars just hours earlier, all it took was a few plants and some chairs to make people realise they could use these car parks differently. So our thanks go to the architecture and design teams who created the fun parklets, and the pedestrians who brought them to life.