Unlocking the potential of empty bike racks by adding a little swing to them.
A couple years back I noticed that all the bike racks being installed around town had a little hole drilled through them, right at the top most point. I started wondering what those holes were for, and then started wondering if I could use them in some creative way.
Since these racks were so consistently placed (always the same distance apart, same height, and that 1/4" hole right on the top) I started working on an artist desk that could be moved from rack to rack, but then decided to focus on something I could bang out a little cheaper and just leave installed.
On January 1st, 2014, I secretly installed a small swing in front of The Church on Valencia. The swing was designed to sit between any two bike racks and provide a space for pedestrians to relax for a bit. I picked this location because it's racks were usually empty and it happened to be the same location as another set of swings installed illegal a few years before.
It stayed up for a little over a month, and I was thrilled every time I'd walk by and see someone using it. I stopped by on a few more popular nights and noticed that the swings designed didn't prevent folks from locking their bikes over it if the rest of the racks were used up.
I love seeing bike racks installed over the city, but feel that all too often city planners tend to think about solving a single problem, rather than thinking creatively about function and community. My dream is to see public exercise areas, benches, tables, and water fountains creatively integrated into the urban landscape.
Adding a swing anywhere is going to bring a smile to people's faces. Fact. I was happy to see how the swing encouraged simple conversations between strangers too. At very least with an exchange of a little eye contact and a smile, but sometimes leading to deeper interaction.
Most importantly, I think it will help people envision simple ways to interact and improve with everyday objects.
Funded by San Francisco, CA (April 2015)