A series of parking spaces installed at a London shopping centre aimed at ‘promoting diversity’ left shoppers baffled and confused where to park their car.
Twenty-four new white painted signs were created to ‘celebrate modern families’, including same-sex couples and single parents, at Westfield in Shepherd’s Bush.
They featured spaces for gay couples with a child, a male and trans couple with a baby, split families with more than two parents and older couples with a child.
This parking space appears to show two grandmothers walking hand in hand with a boy and girl
This design shows two couples with one child aimed at being inclusive toward ‘split families’
This sign shows a gay male couple with a newborn baby as part of the ‘modern families’ campaign
While some of the icons were easy to decipher, others had customers scratching their heads wondering if they were allowed to park there.
The signs for same-sex couples were relatively obvious, but more obscure ones such as ‘grandparent, guardian and child’ and ‘pregnant mother with female partner and baby’ proved more difficult.
The parking spaces were an attempt to challenge the traditional ‘mother, father and child’ signs seen across the country.
Conventional: One of the easier spaces to work out was one showing a mother and father with multiple children and a baby
Shopper Rob Jones said he and his wife found the signs confusing and struggled to work out where they were allowed to park at the shopping centre (pictured)
The 24 ‘modern families’ the spaces try to signify
1. Male couple with baby
2. Female couple with child
3. Single mum with children
4. Mum and dad with children and baby
5. Single dad with children
6. Single mum with child and baby
7. Grandparents/guardians with children
8. Mum, child and grandma
9. Mum and dad with four children
10. Grandad/guardian with baby
11. Split family (e.g. four parents and one child)
12. Older female couple with children
13. Single mum with children and baby
14. Male and trans couple with child
15. Pregnant mum with children and baby
16. Pregnant mum with female partner and baby
17. Mum and child and grandparents
18. Male couple with baby and older parent
19. Dad with son and his friends
20. Single dad and baby with grandparent
21. Single pregnant mum with baby
22. Dad and pregnant mum with baby and child
23. Male couple with two babies
24. Grandma/guardian with child
A spokesperson said feedback from Westfield customers so far showed the idea had ‘proven popular’ with them.
But shopper Rob Jones said they seemed ‘a bit forced, and pretty confusing’.
The 28-year-old said: ‘My family and I drove into Car Park A when they were put up and we didn’t have a clue which ones we could park in.
‘We had a queue of vehicles behind us as my wife and I tried to work out if we could leave the car in them.’
The spaces were the brainchild of Volvo, and advertising company Grey London, to mark the launch of their new family estate car.
‘According to the Office of National Statistics, 65% of UK families are non-traditional.
But the family iconography we see every day still doesn’t reflect this,’ explained Grey London creative director, Joseph Ernst.
‘To launch Volvo’s ultimate family car, the new V60, we wanted to represent families of all kinds.
‘The Volvo Family Icons are a celebration of the broad spectrum of diverse families living in the UK today.’
The parking spaces were installed in Car Park A at Westfield, on Level 1 by lift lobby 2 near Waitrose and Marks & Spencer in August.
Volvo said that over the years ‘the definition of family has evolved, hence the icons profile different examples of family within society, including same-sex couples, single parents and nuclear families’.
Westfield recently underwent a massive £600m expansion project to add a new Primark and John Lewis store in June.
It also saw the likes of Adidas, Flying Tiger Copenhagen, Curry’s PC World and Boots getting a refurbishment.
In October the West London shopping centre was crowned the best in the UK.
Westfield Shepherd’s Bush scored 4.09 out of five, with Westfield Stratford City coming in second place at 3.98 out of five.
Twitter user mocks female-only parking bays intended to make women feel safer at night
In October, a Twitter user sparked a social media storm after mocking female-only parking bays intended to make women feel safer at night.
The ‘ladies only’ bays were introduced in 2002 at the Bow Street car park in Bolton.
But one social media user, Josh Woogs, found the bays rather amusing – posting online ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing here haha’.
He also uploaded some images alongside his post, subsequently joking that a reversed car seen in one of them was ‘parked by her husband’.
His comments resulted in a fierce backlash with one person labelling the man ‘uneducated’ and another calling him ‘sexist’.
The ‘ladies only’ bays (above) – introduced in 2002 at the Bow Street car park in Bolton – have been ridiculed by a Twitter user