How can we make car parking more sustainable?
In a world with a population of 7.5 Billion where 68% of them is living or expected to live in central urban areas by 2050, more than 1 billion cars are crossing the streets every day worldwide. Cities are sprawling and urbanization is controlling the image of urban spaces. With these circumstances in mind, having an empty parking slot in a metropolitan city became a stressful challenge. On the road to find a solution, cities tried to adopt two different approaches, first is to eliminate the minimum available parking slot, yes this might look like getting the problem more complex, whilst it is not. This approach aims to increase walkability and cycling over car use if you know that your target place doesn’t have a parking slot your possibility to leave your car at home and use a local transportation method is much higher. However, this approach cannot be used in all the areas as in hypermarkets, malls and shopping destinations where you most probably need your car around. The second approach, on the contrary, is building more garage facilities and providing more parking slots that can comprise the problem. However, the main problem that faces this approach is that more open parking areas in the street disturb the city image and increase the urban heat island effect. Thus, the most illuminating solution now is to adopt new green parking technology options.
Green parking solving the problem
A green parking lot is an approach to design open parking spaces with different practices to minimize the sentimental impact of asphalt parking lots on heat island. This kind of design only needs easy construction soil to install the required elements as:
- Permeable pavement replacing asphalt.
- Shading trees replacing constructed shades.
- Rain gardens as parking dividers.
- Purifying and recycling of stormwater for planting.
- Recycled rubber pavers.
The costs of installing this parking technique are much less compared to the traditional parking areas’ costs. Aside from the money-saving, this direction ties multiple benefits as improving air and water quality, reducing heat generation, increase groundwater supply and enhance stormwater management. A double profit is in the hands.
That’s how you can enhance or replace street parking areas, but what about a whole building efficiency booster? Technology is the solution.
E-Parking offers new possibilities for the future of garage buildings
The other choice besides green parking is the smart parking buildings. It’s the modern technology choice for smoother and easier parking experience. This technique depends on an automated system where you leave your car in a specially designed place and the robotic system elevate it to a suitable slot. Afterwards, you receive your car again from the door down. This technique minimizes a lot of parking building spaces because you basically eliminate the intersecting routes as no pedestrians are allowed. In addition to facilitating the traffic problem in congested areas where there is no space for a horizontal parking place. In fact, aside from the developed tools in parking building also cars are being upgraded now with parking sensors, back cameras, and recently self-parking system in some cars. Technology is moving fast forward to solve this global obstruction.
3 Buildings took the parking services into a whole new level
Parking and garages design usually is an afterthought after designing the main concept and form of the building. Although in big commercial and public buildings parking formulates 30% of the project area, but brutal, greyed parking is taking over the scene in most of them. Yet some great architects decided to change this image and build garage buildings with significant forms as:
- Autostadt (Wolfsburg, Germany)
The “cars towers” is a famous landmark in Wolfsburg, with 48 m high, fully glazed, building is creating an architecture image for the Volkswagen power station. The building capacity is up to 400 cars and consists of 20 stories. The building is the “world’s fastest automatic parking system” according to the book of Guinness World Records, a car can be parked in 1 minute and 44 seconds in the highest parking space. This building surely went more than just a car parking facility.
- Célestins car park (Lyon, France)
The Célestins car park in Lyon city is an underground park that was established in 1994 and it is considered an artistic intervention winner. It is designed by architects Michel Targe and Jean-Michel Wilmotte and the design was inspired by Tuscan wells. It exists down of the Place des Célestins, in a circular cylindrical shape with a diameter of 51 m and depth of 22 m. The 6.5 levels park include almost 440 parking lots yet it’s still a comforting space because the central vacuum facilitated its ventilation. The park won the EPA Award, awarded by the European Parking Association in Budapest in 1996 “ only two years after opening” and is still recognized on the list of “ten coolest car parks in the world” according to daily mail in 2013.
- Santa Monica Civic Parking Structure (Santa Monica, California, USA)
Santa Monica Civic Parking Building was built in 2008 and designed by Moore Ruble Yudell architects. The garage building consists of 8 floors and is considered an architecture sustainable iconic building, why? The building includes photovoltaic panels in the roof, east and west facades to provide all the building’s energy consumption. In addition to using natural light sources, water use reduction system, stormwater management and using of recycled reinforcing steel and cement replacements in construction. All these aspects nominated it to be the first LEED-certified garage in the United States. Further, the building succeeded in reaching the highest level of urban integration by adding more functions as retail spaces at the pedestrian level, a social centre that offers a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean and a café on the plaza terrace that shows the pedestrian traffic flow.
Getting an empty parking slot in a metropolitan city now is a daily pressing problem. If you are a part of the construction and building industry we suggest considering adopting new tech tools and systems in your property to minimize this stress.