On a sunny October day in 2005, Rebar, the San Francisco-based collective of artists, activists, and designers, paid a curbside parking meter in downtown San Francisco and built a temporary park within the white lines of the parking space – complete with lawn, a large shade tree, and a park bench (Figure 4.1). For the legal duration of our “lease,” we reprogrammed the public right-of-way: no longer a space dedicated to the movement and storage of private automobiles, for two hours this seven by twenty-two feet of street became a place for rest, relaxation, and socializing in an area of downtown San Francisco previously underserved by public open space.1 At first, passersby reacted with a mix of indifference and curiosity. Eventually several people ventured into the “park,” found a place to sit and took advantage of the novelty of cool grass and shade. Some of the strangers enjoyed

some unplanned social interaction by exchanging a few words with each other; others took the occasion to rest or read. After two hours and having generated 24,000 “square foot-minutes” of public open space, Rebar dismantled the park and returned the space to its normative function. All that remained of the incident were the photos and video footage shot. We posted these on our website as a record of the experiment.