PARK(ing) Day – 2013 Johannesburg

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“Streets are public spaces too” – Le Corbusier

As a group of architects, planners, designers, artists, urbanites and users of our city, the 2013 Parking Day collective Joburg collaborated as a group of active researchers, seeking not merely to observe activity in public space, but to activate it:

PARK(ing) Day is an annual open-source global event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places.The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has evolved into a global movement, with organizations and individuals (operating independently of Rebar but following an established set of guidelines) creating new forms of temporary public space in urban contexts around the world.

The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more urban open space, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of urban human habitat … at least until the meter runs out!

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There are indeed many bustling streets in Joburg, and even though we now celebrate “inclusive” public space in SA, many go home to comfortable, picket fence suburbs, and engage with the city at arm’s length only.



The parking day collective sought to initiate an open domain for debate around public space, its intricacies; in terms of perception, legalities and illegalities. Hosting somewhat informal, mini-seminar/workshop activities on the street allowed passers-by to engage with the debate on public space with interested architects, designers, artists and any other passers-by who made their way to the parking-bay seminars; and for the speakers to present to engage with people who actively use the city and their ideas (or lack thereof) about public space in Joburg.



Parking Day is a platform for us to actively engage with public space and incite activity in it, not as mere flaneurs, but by activating the space taken by parking bays through several activities to show for one day how these spaces could be used in a different manner. Par(king) Day Johannesburg used the space as an activating mechanism for critical social inclusion; for us to begin to imagine the spaces our city could potentially thrive on. It allows us to say something about public space differently; allowing multiple and plural perspectives without restricting ideas to specific groups or positions; and to send a clear, immediate message about the way we use public space in the city.


Special thanks to our workshop contributors –

The Joburg Parking Day creative team – Marlene Wagner, Blanca Calvo, Io Makandal Scheiss, Sumayya Vally

The Parking Day Joburg collective encourages responsible use of public space and does not in any way encourage or take responsibility for individuals damaging or defacing of public property, disturbance, or any illegal activity.

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