City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

PARKing Day Sydney, 2008

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Demonstrating tactical urbanism in Central Sydney

We (Arup Sydney) were part of the worldwide event known as PARKing Day yesterday. (Ed. This piece was first published at on 20 September 2008.)

Grabbing a bit of spare tarmac outside Customs House by Circular Quay, colleagues from various teams set up shop with some mulch, haybales, fruit and veg, connectivity, one of the fleet Smart Cars — and this being Australia — a chook.

PARKing Day is a one-day, global, open source-style event where parking space is reclaimed, simply by pumping some dollars into a parking meter, usually, and turned into temporary public parks. The movement started in San Francisco , led by the group Rebar, but see also events in Los Angeles and Melbourne this year, for instance.

I was in Brisbane for the day, so didn’t get to see how our park turned out in person — though I did see a parking spot in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley turned into a grassy table football venue (the Brisbane PARKing Days are really well organised, with over 47 ‘parks’ this year, apparently).

Our team had chosen the theme of ‘productivity’ — hence the urban agriculture and wi-fi — and the little park drew a lot of positive attention from passers-by throughout the day. We asked people to contribute their wishes for Sydney, which were pinned to a tree in the ‘park’.

People seemed to love it and we think we may have been one of the only such parks in Sydney (drop a comment in if you know of others) although there was a brave park on King Street, Newtown back in April.

Much thanks to my friends at Customs House, and thanks also to Wired Sky for the wi-fi coverage, and several others from the office who helped out hugely. Most credit goes to my colleague Safiah Moore, who initiated and organised the whole thing. And donated the chook. A good day.

Ed. This piece was first published at on 20 September 2008.


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