Concrete wastelands - American parking lots should advance beyond being nothing more than concrete wastelands and become aesthetic spaces brought to life by good design.
First came mass mobilization, closely followed by the need for somewhere to put all of the cars. With 500 million spaces, the USA has significantly more parking spaces than US citizens – small wonder given that there are over 800 cars to every 1,000 inhabitants. The space-consuming demands of individual transport are integral to an infrastructure that is geared entirely toward the car. Shopping, office and recreational centers surrounded by highways and veritable oceans of parking space are an everyday part of the “American way of life”.
But what can we do about it now? Do away with cars? And then spruce up these big gray parking lots? Debates on the issue are certainly gaining momentum in the USA. For example, international PARK(ing) Day, established in 2005 by the San Francisco-based design office “Rebar”. The initiative uses creative parking-lot happenings and alternative design projects to encourage reflection upon the urban infrastructure.
In the context of today’s approaches to urban planning, which increasingly take their cue from the concepts of community and sustainability (as exemplified by the “High Line” in New York or the rediscovery of flowing rivers and green areas in urban settings), something seems to have finally “clicked”, a turnaround in the remodeling of parking lots...