Tongue-in-cheek protest against car-centric parking policy in Graz

(C) Phillipp Axmann

Who can claim the curbsite? This essential question is one of the core topics of Park4SUMP and a discussion point in any urban environment. The clash between car users, who claim the parking spots, and other road users is a constant struggle. Activists from Graz (AT) decided to put attract attention to this topic by providing space for children. Instead of installing a sandbox on an empty parking spot, an action that would be a misdemeanour in Graz, a convertible was filled with sand. Read the full story in German here.

Yes, you understood correctly: the car seat of an old convertible was removed, and several hundreds of kilos of sand were filled in the car. The removal and storage of the old driver seat is an essential requirement as the local rules require that the vehicle is still able to drive. Thus, in theory, the sand just needs to be removed and the driver seat reinstalled to restore roadworthiness. This unique sandbox is a great local attraction for the youngsters and will be moved weeks to another neighbourhood in the next couple of to spark joy.

So, what is the purpose? The local organiser of the convertible sandbox highlights: “We want to draw attention to the unfair distribution of space in the city - there is very little space for children, but very much for cars (…) and the campaign was well-received, since children play in the car every day”. Whereas many citizens of the Styrian capital are celebrating the action, some seem to be very annoyed and already filed a complaint.

The action is just another chapter in the discussion about the curbsite use in Graz. For example, a recent legal decision allowed the user of a larger cargo bike to park on a paid parking spot. Therefore, the discussion about the curbsite use will continue. The Park4SUMP project hopes that the citizens and car users of Graz will happily coexist and enough space will be dedicated to children and other road users.