There is more than one way of changing the quality of transportation and public space in a city. And more than all of the Big Bang projects that grotesque amounts of money can buy, at the end of the day the most important thing to change in all this is our minds.
And those changes, and hopefully the creative educational process which goes along with it, can be very small indeed. You do one small visible thing, and then another, and then another again and suddenly everyone in your city starts to look at the issues in a different way.
Here’s an example of what we might call a “Little Bang” project which you and your friends could do quickly and well, and the only thing it would cost to would be the price of an hour of on-street parking space in George Town, Butterworth, or any other transportation hub in Penang with lots of physical, on-Street metered parking. It is called a PARK(ing) Day.
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!
You can find out more about PARK(ing) Day organization and celebrations from http://parkingday.org/about-parking-day/
World Map for 2016 PARK(ing) Days
This to my mind is an interesting map. Without giving any guarantees of the absolute accuracy of the map as you see it here, the point is that – and this will hardly come as a surprise! –almost all of the action is taking place thus far in Western Europe and North America. But that doesn’t have to be the only choice. A good PARK(ing) Day project could very well find its way in Penang, and in the process be one of the first in Southeast Asia.
A 2016 PARK(ing) Day project for Penang
So what about getting together and organizing your first-ever PARK(ing) Day project for Penang. You can do it with a couple of your more imaginative friends – and be sure to take plenty of pics so that they can be shared across the web.
This is a great example of what we like to call a “Little Bang” project. Let’s see if we can identify hundred such low cost projects that one after the other change the way people think about transportation public space in Penang. This being, after all, the necessary starting place.
Dare to be Number Two
Your friends in Singapore are already jumping on this great idea. First Singapore project is slated to take place on 16 September, and you can find out all about it at – http://ethz.us7.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=60b4c83c5158b6fdd986083f0&id=6ceb35013c&e=261c781bd2
Here is some first background information taken from their site: At the occasion of this year’s Park(ing) Day in Singapore, the Engaging Mobility group of the Future Cities Laboratory will set up a digital peephole into the future to test new possibilities in engaging people for street design and urban development projects. The technology combines the latest 3D modelling, traffic simulation and computer games techniques to showcase in Virtual Reality how streets can be re-designed to make cycling and walking a more pleasant experience.
You are invited to cycle in Virtual Reality through three local streets: Lim Liak Street – Kim Cheng Street and Seng Poh Road. Each street features a particular re-design to make cycling and walking more attractive. To better understand how Virtual Reality applications can help planners getting feedback from local stakeholders each participant is invited to fill out a short survey.
We are looking forward to welcome you at our parking lot on the 16th of September from 10am to 8pm! All visitors taking the survey do not only take part in a lucky draw with exiting give-aways, but also will have for the first time in Singapore the chance to test both the latest Virtual Reality goggles HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Nothing wrong with being Number Two it comes to great ideas.
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About the editor:
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Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton