Every year in September, cities across the world celebrate PARK(ing) Day, an event initiated in 2005 when a metered parking space was transformed into a temporary public park by Rebar, an art and design studio based in San Francisco, the US. Since then, the concept has spread around the world to raise civic awareness on urban amenities and public spaces, and it landed in Malaysia for the first time ever in George Town on September 19.
An initiative of Penang Institute and supported by MBPP, it was a day when citizens, artists and local businesses creatively turned parking spaces into temporary parks, small gardens and other attractive green spaces.
The event took place around the World Heritage Site from 7am to 7pm, with 50 parking spaces transformed by 44 participating teams into one-day “parks”. To encourage the creativity of participants and to introduce an element of competition, cash prizes were respectively awarded, with the following two equally weighted factors as judging criteria: level of creativity in use of space and level of creativity in use of materials.
According to surveys conducted on PARK(ing) Day, the event received a 76% positive feedback from the public, with a respondent even suggesting that it be held more often to create awareness for the public to stay green and love green. With the event being a success, it is hoped that Penang could celebrate PARK(ing) Day again next year.
Tan Lii Inn graduated with a Master’s Degree from Korea University. He is currently an analyst at Penang Institute.