Why Can’t a Parking Lot Be More Like a Park?



this just in: a new vision for parking lots that includes shade trees (to keep cars cooler and generally contribute to the greening of the urban environment), permeable pavement and other storm water runoff-reducing measures, solar powered lights,and parking spaces that are sized for hybrid compact vehicles. (how about a way to plug in while you’re parked?)

These Toronto-based architects make the very valid point that parking lots as they are currently designed are hardly the "highest and best uses" of the space.

Really, why can’t a parking lot be like a park for your car?

via Treehugger


  1. This is very timely. I’m involved with the proposed expansion of our local library, and these are the things that I’ve been advocating. The architects are very receptive to these ideas & we’re hoping the “green” aspects of the plan will be a selling point for the referendum. While Tibs can park in the hot sun, I’d rather have bird poop on my car roof & windshield than have a hot car & have to turn on the a.c. I have noticed that at the library’s current parking lot, the shade spots are always taken 1st in Summer.

  2. I always take the shaded spot, but I know of a small town that removed all of their street trees in the downtown because of flocks of sparrows moving in permanently. After many angry people at council meetings, they caved. That said, the trees were the evil flowering pear. Pick you street trees or parking lot trees wisely. We have lovely service berry (amelicher (Sp)) on our town square with patio underneath. You cannot use the space during fruit season from the purple droppings and all the bird droppings.

  3. Oh a subject near and dear to my heart.
    Do you believe I spent an entire quarter taking Parking Lot Design ? ! .. Who wuddathunk that they even offer such a class, and that you are required to pay for it and take it in order to graduate.

    You ask the question : ” Really, why can’t a parking lot be like a park for your car? “.
    The Short and Easy answer : MONEY and meeting Code Compliance.

    The ‘money’ part comes into play because a permeable car park area is way more expensive to install than a traditional asphalt parking lot.
    It cost more to engineer, more to install and more to maintain over the life of the parking lot. About 3 to 4 ‘+’ times as much depending on the location, the grade and the local ordinances amongst other things.

    And then there is the short sightedness of the local Administrations ( City Planners, City Council, The Developer & their Engineers ) that oversee such a project.
    I would wager to say that few if any have any education in green design and only know how to flow with the traditional status quo.

    Fortunately green design strategies are now regularly offered in Landscape Architectural and Engineering curriculums and even in some Real Estate Development courses.

    Eventually the old farts will fade out of their positions and an enlightened new age of engineers and designers will take their place replacing their old tried and true standards with up to date environmentally conscience specifications and design standards.

  4. P.O.’d people?

    Oh, I don’t know. My Colombian partner regards bird pooping on his car or house as, believe it or not, good luck! It makes him happy even though it annoys the crap out of me!

    Maybe not everyone would be as PO’d about bird poop as you think.

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