Parking Is Hell: Architects to the Rescue

Inspired by our “Parking Is Hell” podcast, an ArchDaily op-ed shows how architects think about the parking problem:

The new car park in Miami is off to a good start, as it is definitively not brutalist, and has been designed and built to higher standards than its 1960s predecessors. It incorporates itself into an already walkable area, making it a success from the start. For this building and indeed any other mixed-use car parks which might be developed in cities worldwide, the lesson to take from the history of this peculiar building typology is that their success is very much dependent on the surrounding urban landscape being suited to accommodate them; much more than other building types, they are sensitive to poor planning.

Increasingly, poor parking arrangements are causing damage to our cities by occupying valuable space and contributing to congestion and pollution. The application of economics that we see in SF Park can mitigate these problems, without substantially changing anything – but wouldn’t it be better to fundamentally change our attitudes to parking, and design better spaces? We have surely learned enough from design’s history to make this a possible, and preferable, path to action.

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COMMENTS: 5


  1. Craig Chester says:

    More parking = more cars and traffic. So what if the garage is pretty? Talk about putting a silk hat on a pig.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 14
    • Danny C. says:

      People don’t see a parking space and suddenly want to buy a car. Sorry, but more parking spaces are not a cause for the rise in automobile sales. It goes the other way around.

      Thumb up 8 Thumb down 9
    • Doug D says:

      With maybe just a touch of hyperbole,. I think that most of the time I spend actually driving in San Francisco is looking for a place to park. In cities that don’t have excellent public transportation, like San Francisco, paying $40 round-trip for a cab, or spending 2 1/2 hours round trip just to visit a neighborhood is a disappointment. I think the problem of parking in San Francisco must depress some economic activity: I know I often consider the hassle as a primary reason for not crossing town to go to a shop, or restaurant, et cetera (other reasons followed by not wanting to spend $40 round-trip, or spend 2 1/2 hours transferring on a city bus, or die biking at night). The upside is many neighborhoods have adequate entertainment in S.F., but that’s not universally true, and not everyone can live in the exact place they most prefer (nor simultaneously in there second, and third choices).

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    • Clancy says:

      It depends on how the parking is priced. If the parking is free, the garage might just fill up, and there would be more cars, traffic, pollution, etc. and still no parking spaces available. If the spaces are sold at something approximating a market rate, there would always be spaces available and traffic might only increase a little bit (there would be some reduction from fewer cars circling the block looking for a street space.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0