PARK(ing) Day 2015 returns to Adelaide this September, temporarily transforming our on-street car parks from asphalt to awesome.
Each year I urge certain friends to visit Adelaide PARK(ing) Day and each year I hear regretful responses such as, “My five-year old would love that, but he doesn’t finish school until later” or “I could leave work early and come into the city… but not that early!” This made me think that the ‘Day’ bit of the title could use a bit of a shake-up, and what better way than to push it out to the time when bartenders are shaking up a few after-work cocktails? That way suburbanites and schoolchildren alike can experience the unusual joy of car parking spaces that have been momentarily transformed into delightful places for people. There is untapped potential in evenings, and not just on PARK(ing) Day. Adelaide City Council has recently set out a strategy to grow and diversify the city’s early evening and night economy, titled Good Evening, Adelaide. The strategy reveals that the city’s average daytime population is 228,700, but this then drops to only 26,800 people overnight, which is often “due to a mass exodus of daytime visitors leaving the city in the early evening”. So not only is evening a time when many outside the city are free to be drawn in, there are thousands more who could be enticed to stay for longer. Adelaide is a small city but in concentrated bursts of time, we have the buzz and intensity of a much larger city. That’s why we do festivals so well, but we don’t need to wait an entire year. Adelaide is changing, with many major developments complete or on the horizon, such as the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (and its former site), the Adelaide Oval, the Convention Centre expansion and the Rundle Mall Redevelopment. These are catalysts that can help remix the steady beat of our city into a more energetic rhythm, perhaps most noticeably in nearby Rundle and Hindley streets. It’s no accident that these two streets form the main route for PARK(ing) Day in 2015. But it’s not the big-ticket items alone that will see Adelaide blossom, it’s also in the smaller details and the signs that this place is special to so many individuals. In the Adelaide Fine Grain Report, Six Degrees Urban observes, “Authenticity is the aspect that will attract people to the city centre and entice visitors and consumers to choose the city. Effort should be directed toward creating the conditions for authentic community driven responses to occur.” This is where PARK(ing) Day comes in. PARK(ing) Day is where ideas can be tested, where connections between like-minded individuals can be forged, and where debates are sparked about what our city streets can be in the future. But it’s all up to you to make it happen. ————– Josie Alvaro is an urban designer and a member of the Adelaide PARK(ing) Day Committee Adelaide PARK(ing) Day Friday, September 18 (3pm to 7pm) Hindley St to Rundle St. Team registrations to create a PARK close on Friday, September 4. Visit website for details and to register: adelaideparkingday.com