Policy & Global Development, Urban Planning, Environment and Health

Park(ing) Day Barcelona Promotes a People-Centred, Environmentally Friendly City Model

Initiative turns 75 parking spaces in Barcelona into festive and educational spaces


More than 40 organisations participated in Park(ing) Day Barcelona 2018. This annual event, held in various cities around the world, encourages organisations, associations and members of the community at large to temporarily transform public parking spaces into parks, gardens and other kinds of public spaces. The aim of the initiative is to call attention to the need for a people-centred, environmentally friendly urban model.

This performative activity, held on Friday, 21 September, was coordinated by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)—a centre supported by the ”la Caixa” Banking Foundation—in collaboration with the Espai Ambiental cooperative and with the support of the Barcelona City Council.

Park(ing) Day Barcelona 2018 featured approximately 50 installations occupying almost 75 parking spaces throughout the city's various districts. The parking spaces hosted a variety of initiatives, ranging from information points on air quality and sustainable mobility to workshops on art and outdoor cooking.

One installation, organised by P(A)T, the Spanish Association for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents, focused on raising awareness about the number of people killed or injured in traffic accidents. A parking space occupied by Cotxeres de Borrell Civic Centre brought classical music, rather than traffic noise, to the masses. The association Vides Sostenibles offered a family-friendly urban gardening workshop that centred around applying the idea of the circular economy to food.

The Bicycle Club of Catalonia (BACC) organised various activities to demonstrate that another kind of urban mobility is possible: a bicycle-drawing activity for children, a workshop on getting the most out of your bike by making a healthy organic smoothie while pedalling, and others. In the Poble Sec neighbourhood, an initiative focused on getting older people out and about (Baixem al Carrer) used a parking space to give older members of the community a chance to once again enjoy social interaction in a public space.

A new feature of Park(ing) Day this year was the inclusion of feminist urbanism as the theme of various parking spaces, including the spaces occupied by Col·lectiu Punt 6 and La Raposa del Poble Sec.

History of Park(ing) Day

Park(ing) Day began in 2005, when a San Francisco architecture collective called Rebar found a new way to raise awareness by occupying a metered parking space. The initiative has since spread to more than 200 cities all over the world.

More information: http://parkingdaybcn.org