Most parking is free – but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a high cost. A recent podcast from Freakonomics Radio (which you can listen to at the end of this article) examined parking in US cities, investigating the “cost of parking not paid for by drivers” – a cost paid not just by the government, but by the environment – due to congestion and pollution caused by people searching for kerbside parking. For example, in a 15 block area of Los Angeles the distance traveled by drivers looking for parking is equivalent to one trip across the USA per day.
One potential solution which they discuss is a San Francisco project called SF Park, which makes use of sensor technology to measure the demand for parking in certain areas of the city and adjust price according to demand. In theory, this would create a small number of empty spaces on each block and dramatically reduce the time that many drivers spend cruising for parking spaces.
Though the idea is certainly an intelligent approach to the problem of kerbside parking, unsurprisingly all this talk of supply, demand and pricing sounds very much like an economist’s answer to a problem. But what can designers do to help the situation?
Perhaps, from the designer’s point of view, the real problem with kerbside parking and surface lots is that they are always seen as a provision “coupled with” a building or area of the city. There have been a number of attempts by architects – some successful and some tragically flawed – to make parking spaces less of a rupture in a city’s fabric and more of a destination in themselves. Could these point to another way?
Read about 3 examples of parking’s past, and one of its potential future, after the break…
Divisive concrete behemoth Preston Bus Station may yet be saved from its planned demolition. On the heels of a well co-ordinated campaign to save the brutalist monument, local businessman Simon Rigby has stepped in and offered to relieve the council of the building planning refurbish and operate the bus station himself.
Read more about the controversy and Rigby’s plan after the break…
The World Monuments Fund (WMF) is calling for international attention to the 1969 Preston Bus Station. Once the world’s largest bus station, the brutalist monument is scheduled for demolition as part of the city center’s redevelopment plan. The building is one of thirty UK “at risk” sites featured by WMF.
Rem Koolhaas stated in an interview with Radio 4’s Evan Davies, “Yes, I think that it is true that in retrospect the brutalist tradition of England is one of its most creative and imaginative architectures and it’s only in the last 5 years that we ourselves are becoming interested in the issue of preservation and I’ve personally campaigned for preserving modernist architecture because there’s almost a global consensus that any architecture from the late sixties, seventies and eighties should disappear from the face of the earth because it’s so harsh and presumably also because it’s so socialistic. And I actually think that we should keep them and treasure them and see them as emblems of a period when architecture was interested in doing good things.”
Follow this link and sign the petition to promote Preston Bus Station’s refurbishment as a key part of the Preston Tithebarn redevelopment scheme.
The video was provided by architectural photographer, Andy Marshall. You can follow him on twitter @fotofacade.