More on converting parking garages to human spaces

DSCN5763Earlier this week I wrote about a parking garage that was converted to a hotel in Europe and speculated that adaptive reuse of garages may become the rule of the day in the future.

A couple days later Eric Jaffe at The Atlantic Cities wrote about a similar project in New York — the garage was turned into luxury housing in that case — to make an important point:

There’s a growing belief among architects and designers that all urban parking garages should be built with these “good bones,” which will allow them to be re-purposed in the future. For a variety of reasons, from higher gas prices to greater densification to better transit options, city residents will continue to drive fewer cars. As a result, we’ll eventually require fewer parking lots. The ability to adapt a structure rather than tear it down will save developers time, money, and material waste.

In other words, we need to design parking structures “with an eye to their afterlife,” as Jaffe later writes. That requires doing three things:

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• Building structures with flat floors

• Giving them sufficient ceiling height to support other uses

• Making sure they are strong enough to hold up whatever else might be built in them.

Jaffe finally suggests that cities can encourage these types of design choices by rewriting building codes and zoning ordinances.

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