Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Amazon are only a few of the many billion dollar companies that once started in a garage in Silicon Valley. But with skyrocketing real estate prices, the next big tech startup may be founded on a parking spot on the street.
Office and co-working spaces — especially in San Francisco — are expensive, and not affordable solutions for some, in an already high-cost city. This is why Victor Pontis, a San Francisco-based coder, launched WePark, which became a viral event. WePark was a semi-spontaneous initiative which saw Pontis transforming a parking space into his working environment, because alternative co-working spaces were simply not affordable. He took to Twitter to announce his plan of action, and just four days later, repeated the same stunt, but this time, attracting 30 more people.
For just $2.75 an hour, the price of a parking meter, Pontis, like many others in his situation, could now adopt co-working outside as a low-cost solution. This makes use of the incredibly high number of parking spaces that just take up too much space in the city that don’t benefit many people. WePark has already gained enough momentum to trigger a similar event in Toulouse, France, and several in Santa Monica too, and is still continuing to gain traction.
Pontis has expressed his desire for his event to spread to other cities. He even went as far as making a Slack Channel for people to join and share ideas to improve such an event. This includes setting up close to strong Wi-Fi signals, restrooms and water fountains. This initiative, like many other parklet ideas, force us to re-evaluate the ways in which cities allocate space to cars. This initiative addresses a greater, and much more important topic; that of cars’ environmental footprint. Transforming these parking spaces for the benefit of people-oriented activities, or simply more personal modes of transport, such as bicycles, is a step in the right direction in creating a sustainable future.