In an op-ed article in The New York Times, Eran Ben-Joseph, a professor of urban planning at MIT, insists that people should take parking lots more seriously. He writes:
We need to redefine what we mean by “parking lot” to include something that not only allows a driver to park his car, but also offers a variety of other public uses, mitigates its effect on the environment and gives greater consideration to aesthetics and architectural context.
There are estimated to be three nonresidentialparking spaces for every car in the US. That amounts to nearly 800 million parking spaces, covering about 4,360 square miles.
In some places, parking lots are used at least part of the time for farmers' markets and other activities. Citing examples of imaginatively designed parking lots, including one at the Dia museum in Beacon, New York, Ben-Joseph says parkings lots can be something better than "an ugly reminder of the costs of our automobile-oriented society."
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• See the March 2012 issue of Better! Cities & Towns. Topics: Traffic congestion, Zoning, DOT mainstreams livability, HUD's Sustainable Communities, Transit-oriented development, TOD tips, Form-based codes, Parking minimums, New classical town, Urban retail, James H. Kunstler, Placemaking and job growth, Maryland's smart growth.
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• See the January-February 2012 issue of Better! Cities & Towns. Topics: Value capture and transit, Social networks aid downtown, Live smaller, Rentals are market key, Streetcar inspiration, Box building, Civilizing suburbs, Alley houses, Sprawl repair, Healthy communities, Funding for infrastructure, Chicago River reversal.
• See the December 2011 issue of New Urban News. Wall Street and urbanism, streets to plazas, Sustainable Communities grants, Choice Neighborhoods, TIGER grants, buyers prefer smart growth, protecting historic buildings, public health and planning, redevelopment in Georgia, Ecovillages, parklets.
• See the October-November 2011 issue of New Urban News. Topics: HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods; Parking reform, transit-oriented parking policy, Obama vs. Congress, West Virginia town revitalizes, suburb remakes its center, ecological dividend, cul-de-sac makeover, thoroughfare manual, and much more.