Photos courtesy of Faolán Bashford

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“It’s entirely down to the person what they want to do,” says Faolán Bashford, organiser of PARK(ing) Day.

Now in its sixth year in Dublin, the idea is simple: take a public parking space and transform it into a pocket park or art installation for the day.

With the recent Luas-henge Twitter storm and the upcoming College Green Plaza, it’s more important than ever to promote high-quality urban design and livable streets, says Bashford.

Interested? He’s just put the call out for participants for PARK(ing) Day 2017.

Better Streets

What started in San Francisco in 2005 has since spread to Dublin and other cities.

Bashford is running it here this year in association with Dublin City Council’s Public Realm Department. He’s hoping Dubliners will join in.

The process is simple, he says. Participants can register online with their idea and the location of the council-owned parking space they want to take over for the day.

Last year, 17 parking spaces were brought to life across the city, says Bashford. Previous years have seen pop-up potato farms, tropical paradises, and crazy golf courses spring up for the day.

“So it’s completely down to the participants,” he says, as long as it’s not party political.

Bashford, who’s currently doing a post-grad in urban regeneration, says PARK(ing) Day participants have included designers, urban planners, artists and other ordinary citizens making simple interventions across Dublin.

Playful City

There have been other efforts of late to make Dublin that bit more inclusive and fun. To wit: the curated series A Playful City which includes a conference this October on how to make the city more playful.

Similarly, PARK(ing) Day is something we should be doing more of, says landscape architect Eoghan Riordan.

“A lot of councils around the world, they do lots of different, cool stuff,” says Riordan. “I think we’re starting to do some of that stuff here, but we need to be more open.”

Riordan has taken part for the past two years. “Somebody was telling me about PARK(ing) Day and it was kind of last-minute the first year I did it,” he says.

“I think I emailed them at the weekend and I had two days to do the drawings and three days to make the first intervention [a series of planters],” he said.

PARK(ing) Day 2017 takes place on Friday 15 September between 10am and 6pm.

This year, Riordan is planning ahead a bit more – he’s already planning his “parklet” weeks ahead of time.

“It’s trying to get people to do something, to be more proactive,” he says. “We need more spaces to just stop, take stock and just chill out and relax.”

Cónal Thomas

Cónal Thomas is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer.

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