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Taking it to the Streets

Picture the ideal design for the center of your village, town, or city. Chances are good you did not think "we need more cars and asphalt."

What did you imagine instead?  More trees? More gathering spaces? Maybe some public art?

That's the idea behind International Park(ing) Day, being celebrated this year on Friday, September 17. These are just a few of the resources, partnerships, and inspirational examples to get you started.

Spotlight: Park(ing) Days

The Big Idea
International Park(ing) Day is a participatory exercise in art and design activism to demonstrate what a more human-centric streetscape could be, by temporarily replacing a street-side parking space with a parklet* filled with trees, grass, or a garden; seating; and music, art, games, books - anything that adds a stitch to the social fabric.
It Started with a Napkin Sketch
In 2005, a group of artists, designers, and urban thinkers, seeking small places for guerrilla art installations in San Francisco, CA, realized that parking spaces represented some of the most affordable real estate rentals in the city. On November 16th of that year, first Park(ing) Day parklet was installed. Check out the full Origin Story. And for a pandemic update and reflection by one of Parking Day's founders, John Bela, read his recent blog post.
Getting Started
Park(ing) Day is an open source, collaborative project. You can find more project examples and How To manuals from myparkingday or its partner sites, like here on the website of the American Society of Landscape Architects.  For more ideas and tactics to try in public spaces, don't forget Free The Museums' Tactic Cards.
Celebrate Park(ing) Day Anytime
In Worcester, MA, urban advocate Joyce Mandell (aka Jane Jacobs in the Woo) partnered with local  government, businesses, and non-profits created a parklet as the centerpiece of Jane Week, a city-wide, community-building celebrating the birth of urban advocate Jane Jacobs each May.
*The National Association of City Transportation Officials (US) defines parklets as "public seating platforms that convert curbside parking spaces into vibrant community spaces. Also known as street seats or curbside seating, parklets...accommodate unmet demand for public space on thriving neighborhood retail streets or commercial areas." For more information about parklet design and other temporary interventions check out their Urban Street Design Guide.
Updates and Upcoming Dates

If you're attending the New England Museum Associations virtual conference, mark your calendar. On Monday, November 15, Free The Museum Activators Michael Burns and Betsy Loring are reprising the "Hack the World" session first introduced at the 2020 MidAtlantic Museum Association annual meeting.

Miss one of our newsletters? No worries - you'll find links to all of them on the Community page of our website.
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Your Free the Museum Activators, 

             Andrea, Betsy, Emma, Michael, Tim & Tricia 
Copyright © 2021 Free the Museum, All rights reserved.

FREE THE MUSEUM is an initiative to activate the “museum experience” in the world around us, transforming everyday places into sites of engagement, reflection, healing, activism, and informal learning.

Free the Museum is a spin-off initiative of the 
Omnimuseum Project

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