Replacing Parking with People: The Next Wave of Adaptive Reuse

The trend towards less driving and auto ownership is causing designers to rethink the future of America's ever-growing supply of parking garages. Eric Jaffe explores what it means to design a garage with an eye towards a less car-dependent future.
Leandro Neumann Ciuffo / flickr

"For a variety of reasons, from higher gas prices to greater densification to better transit options, city residents will continue to drive fewer cars," explains Jaffe. "As a result, we'll eventually require fewer parking lots. The ability to adapt a structure rather than tear it down will save developers time, money, and material waste."

To meet this need, architects and designers like Tom Fisher, dean of the College of Design at the University of Minnesota, are proposing how to outfit urban parking garages for a life after cars. "His three key elements to an adaptable garage design are flat floors, comfortable floor-to-ceiling heights, and enough loading capacity (in other words, strength) to support another structural use," notes Jaffe.

"As the auto culture wanes we're going to have a lot of demolition to do, which is unfortunate," says Fisher. "If we're going to build these [garages] let's design them in a way that they can have alternative uses in the future. With just a few tweaks that's really possible."

Full Story: We Need to Design Parking Garages With a Car-less Future in Mind

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95