Roza El-Hassan Guard HUNGARY
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Parking Places - Budapest, Hungary

The Niche
Parking Places:

A few weeks ago, I thought to have discovered a rentable/ flexible gap in public space: a place where on can put "Instant sculptures", objects, invite people for a while instead of going the long way through applications and powerful/ influential supporters. This would be theoretically indeed possible, everything on small wheels belongs to the category of hand-vehicle, which exists, but the result of the small legal investigation, we did with a friend of mine , Sandor Nagy Bodo, on the legal nature of the lease contract between citizen and the owner of so called public space was quite surprising.

The law for traffic and public space doesn't exist anymore concerning our aspect. The basic law on traffic is theoretically still valid, it is from 1957 and incredibly liberal considering the fact, that this was the time of worst and darkest communist regime. It says, that you can park your vehicle: carriage, car, bicycle everywhere, where it is not definitely forbidden by a sign, and where you don't endanger others. Therefore one shouldn't park "on/in the middle of the street, but better on the roadside, and not leave his/ her vehicle on bridges and in tunnels".

This law still exists, and it is accessible for all the citizen for free on the internet, but it has lost any relevance. The so called pubic space is under control of regulations and several private companies. First regulation was made 93', soon private companies were founded to maintain and control public space and 93' was also the year, when the first parking clocks/ machines were mounted in Budapest.

Regulations are absolutely instable, has no universal validity, they are absolutely local changing from one street, from one corner to the next within the city, and usually they are at least changed/ modified at least two times a year. Regulations are not accessible to the citizens. With a special permission one can go the city-court and read them, but it is not allowed to make copies and prints, the only thing, what is allowed is to make handwritten notes copying the paragraphs from the CD-rom based text from their from monitor.

Considering the power of the private companies on the roadsides there're very few limitations, like "they mustnšt put shackles/ locks on the wheels of fireman's cars and ambulance cars, even if they haven't payed their bill for parking. The 20 pages of text for Budapest tries to regulate how the private companies divide/ share the territory of the city under each other, of course there're more and less valuable territories, but even the green part of the city is given away. The regulations has no universal validity: they are absolutely local: only valid on that spot, at that time, but there's one thing, which is global, and that is the compilation of data on those who have to pay fines/penalties.

The rule says, that all the controllers on the streets has to carry a pocket computer and transfer the data in the office to the global network. So far I got, because I was curious on the nature of the contract between citizen and owner of public space, I nearly forgot about the art-works: we were told very politely by one of the PR man at the city council, that art is always very welcome to enrich the life of the city, nothing is impossible, we should do such a project on Sunday, but we have to ask an other department for special permission.