Bringing Absurdity to Urbanism

An interview with REBAR design collective, creators of PARK(ing) Day, about using humor and absurdity to advance ideas for improving cities.

Johanna Hoffman talks with REBAR's Matthew Passmore:

JOHANNA: "Two themes that seem to run throughout REBAR's projects are the absurd and the generous. Events like PARK(ing) Day are these hilarious ways to re-appropriate public space, but they also provide random strangers with unexpected gifts like shade, food and drink, portable libraries, and more. Why these dual foci of absurdity and generosity?"

PASSMORE: "I think, on the side of absurdity, if you're trying to make an aesthetic or political statement or some kind of activist statement, humor and absurdity are very effective tools by which to make your message heard. For example, PARK(ing) Day is a critical look at how cities are used and broken up, who uses them, and for whom are they designed. In our opinion the city is designed around the automobile. So we could make signs and go to meetings and protest this imbalance that we see in terms of spatial use in our city, or we could take this matter into our own hands and make these things that are silly and open to the public and do so in a way that is generous. Having that sense of humor makes your critical statement more effective."

Full Story: Interview: REBAR makes simple yet powerful statements about the how and why of city design

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