Rethinking A Lot: The Design And Culture Of Parking

There are an estimated 600,000,000 passenger cars in the world, and that number is increasing every day.

So, too, is Earth’s supply of parking spaces.

In some cities, parking lots cover more than one-third of the metropolitan footprint.

It’s official: we have paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

In Rethinking A Lot: The Design And Culture Of Parking, author Eran Ben-Joseph shares a different vision for parking’s future.

Parking lots, he writes, are ripe for transformation.

After all, as he points out, their design and function has not been rethought since the 1950s.

With this book, Ben-Joseph pushes the parking lot into the twenty-first century.

Can’t parking lots be aesthetically pleasing, environmentally and architecturally responsible?  Used for something other than car storage?

Ben-Joseph provides a visual history of this often ignored urban space, introducing us to some of the many alternative and nonparking purposes that parking lots have served — from RV campgrounds to stages for “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.”

He shows us parking lots that are not concrete wastelands but lushly planted with trees and flowers and beautifully integrated with the rest of the built environment.

With purposeful design, Ben-Joseph argues, parking lots could be significant public places, contributing as much to their communities as great boulevards, parks, or plazas.

For all the acreage they cover, parking lots have received scant attention.  It’s time to change that; it’s time to rethink the lot.