The New York Times isn’t alone in reporting on a “silent” revolution of reduced automobile driving. NYT writer John Schwarts reports, in Young Americans Lead Trend to Less Driving, that in previous decades Americans drove more every year, until some point in the middle of the last decade, when they started to drive less.
Recently Italians announced the sales of bicycles outpaced sales of cars in Italy since 2011, for the first time in 48 years. The car is being replaced as the symbol of ‘youthful freedom” by newer technology, reports Digital Trends. There are indications in some cities that although bike counts are up, bike parking is not keeping pace. There’s some speculation that small, smarter, electric cars can serve as batteries across the urban grid.
Meanwhile bike-share and car-share services are becoming more prevalent according to research by Shareable. If cars are getting smaller and being replaced, what’s the future of the garage? This background sets the stage for some interesting design briefs or design research essays.
Here are some initial thoughts…
Small Garage Structures
Solar garage designed by students at Green Mountain College VT for the college’s fossil-free farm. “The garage features and integrative design to optimize performance of electric vehicles in cold weather.” It incorporates a greenhouse area on the south side.
public parking lots and garages: destined to be re-sized and reshaped?
Folding bikes versus cars
Bike parking takes up less space and can typically be much closer to the entry points at your destination, points out Utility Cycling. Should more car onstreet car parking be given over to bikes?
American cities are experimenting with bike parking garages.
Mcdonalds Cycle Center in chicago–storage for 300 bikes, a full service bike shop, shower facilities, and a cafe via curatedmag.com
But will American cities ultimately be looking toward a Dutch model:
a view from the top of the Dutch bicycle parking garage via panoramio Kfir Shimoni
dutch bicycle parking garage via onlyinholland.com
Elastic Buildings that contain parking
The term “sustainable parking garage” may be an oxymoron, but given that a lot of parking garages already exist, what are some options for them? Can we turn them into “elastic spaces” where a wider range of uses are accomodated around the clock. The 1111 Lincoln Road is premium parking garage might be an example:
Xavier de Jaureguiberry
If we don’t need as much space for cars, do we need more space for urban farming?
Van der Hoeven Horticultural Projects greenhouse on a parking garage in Vancouver, Canada
Ultimately, we’ll see a shift in land use and infrastructre for urban transport. We have some big design questions to answer regarding how it will work.
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