Dilapidated Piaggio Ape Turned Parklet is an impressive example of malicious compliance
Parklets are nothing new to the cityscape. As the name suggests, these are tiny parks that reduce green areas, set up by local authorities or businesses, with the aim of providing more space and amenities for people using the street. This generally involves favoring pedestrians and cyclists, to the detriment of motorists, since the parklets use public parking spaces – sometimes even several.
From time to time, parklets become examples of malicious compliance or subversive acts by activists aimed at reducing the possession and circulation of motor vehicles. This is one of those cases, and its big unveiling yesterday sparked a very heated debate on social media. Is it a way of giving back to the community, as his brain claims, or is it a way of stealing it, since it directly impacts motorists, by depriving them of a public parking space?
Speaking of the brain, his name is Adam Tranter and he describes himself on Twitter as ‘Coventry Cycling Mayor’ (in the UK) who “Wants safer streets for more walking and cycling. He divides his time between Coventry and London, and the location of his parklet is a stone’s throw from the Abbey Fields car park and car park.
At first, he tried to set up a real parklet, he says on Twitter, but was quickly discouraged by the authorities: the parking spaces were exclusively intended for motor vehicles. So, perhaps taking inspiration from many others “Carders” before him he transformed a dilapidated Piaggio Ape into a parklet, so that it now offers a quaint and quite pleasant resting place for a couple of people. He even got a permit, as the sticker on the window proves.
Tranter’s idea is that public parking should be available for pedestrians and cyclists, because it is public – and should not be used as car storage at all times. He thinks it’s his way of giving back to the community, offering an inclusive alternative.
His project has achieved near-viral status and, with heightened attention, comes controversy. While most commentators praise him for his project, there are many who don’t see it in the same positive light. If you turn a public parking space into anything else, isn’t that robbing the community – and for an ego project, nothing less?
I built a parklet in a parking lot but it was removed by the town hall because it was not a motor vehicle.
I have now built a parklet which is a motor vehicle and therefore the space for the community is back. Enjoy! pic.twitter.com/d8YKiw75Io
– Adam Tranter (@adamtranter) June 21, 2021