Park(ing) for People

by Greg Bodnar on August 8, 2013

Park(ing) Day is coming around again and this time there’s some official support. Wellington Sculpture Trust is calling for expressions of interest to join them on the day. The closing date is August 12th (sorry for the late posting on this), so get those idea machines cooking. There are a total of 20 locations that will be set aside specifically for this, as far north as the Railway Station and dotting down to Swan Lane on Cuba Street. My previous location at Lower Cuba picks up 6 spaces and may actually look a bit like a proper shared space when it’s all set up.

Allocated park(ing) spaces

There is a fair bit of information to read through (PDF) before submitting a concept. Some costs can be recovered, but there are rules to follow and an obligation to have the park in place from 8am until 8pm regardless of weather.

Why would you want to do this? Besides being a fun day out, it’s a great way to get people thinking about public spaces and how we interact with the street. On-street parking is a sacred cow (Councillor Morrison, you aren’t helping) and we need to have the discussion about how parking affects urban form and the people on the streets, which is sort of what Councillor Paul Eagle is saying, even if what he means is slightly different. Streets are all about interactions and we need to move beyond our zero-sum-game mentality. Creative use of one car park can bring much more value than just a few carloads of people.

Knowing that Park(ing) Day has its roots in the fringes of legality, it feels weird to see it wrapped in officialdom and supported by Wellington City Council. Having parks vetted and selected seems a bit sanitised. However, we need to get people to take interest in reshaping Wellington for the future. 20 well-designed parks in high pedestrian areas will be much more effective than a single subversive park, regardless of political washing.

Of course, nothing is stopping anyone from taking some other space in a less official fashion. Just be safe about it.

Paula Warren August 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Go for it people. I’m working with an artist to bid for one of the spaces, which we hope to use for an installation allowing people to think about what the area used to be like (before they piped the stream, covered over the beach…

Steven Bond August 11, 2013 at 6:48 am

Good for you. One reason I left Wellington for Europe is the contempt in which pedestrians are held in most of NZ, including Wellington – a real tragedy as Wellington could and should be a great city for walking. Instead the planners are taking away pedestrian crossing islands, and walkers still get just a few seconds in every two or three minutes to scuttle across the road at city junctions. FYI, Donald Shoup (, has quantified the (high) costs of on-street parking.

Greg Bodnar September 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

An update just appeared on the WCC website. I’ve yet to see a list of successful candidates, but it sounds like there were a lot of entries.

Greg Bodnar September 19, 2013 at 10:03 am

Sculpture Trust has an update on the event tomorrow, names and places on a map: MetService seems cautiously optimistic on the weather tomorrow, so take a day off and sit in a park somewhere. Better yet, try all 18 and let us know what you think.

Greg Bodnar September 19, 2013 at 11:52 am

Seriously over-commenting on this, but WCC and the Sculpture Trust are postponing until Wednesday, Sept 25.

Seamonkey Madness September 24, 2013 at 8:33 am

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: