What has made parking so detrimental to our cities is that we allowed this lack of design consideration to continue for so long and at such large scales. By 1960 in Los Angeles, 28% of the land was covered by streets for cars in motion, and 38% was dedicated to their off street parking (Jakle & Sculle, 10). This was typical of many cities developing around driving- a full two-thirds of their central business district was dedicated space for the automobile that failed to integrate with the architecture. This should have been seen as a great design opportunity, however parking was an afterthought, a non-place occupying abandoned lots and surrounding the bases of our buildings.
Parking was considered only in practical and facilitative terms, with little focus on aesthetics, spatial quality, or its significance as the transition between automobile and building. Parking as mere extension of automotive space looks the same, no matter where it is in the city, or what city itâ€™s in at all. The four images of parking below are from four different cities, and yet they are indistinguishable. â€œNothing
over the past century in America has proven as disruptive of traditional urban landscape as parking. Perhaps nothing has made American cities less memorableâ€? (Jakle & Sculle, 8).
Published on Jan 22, 2012
book completed for Thesis Preparation at Syracuse University School of Architecture, fall 2011