1. Environmental
January 23, 2015updated 29 Jul 2021 2:16pm

5 better things you can do with a parking space

By Barbara Speed

As cities become more and more crowded, the value we place upon small pockets of space is increasing. In suburban sprawl, banks of parking spaces may seem innocuous enough, but in city centres they’re beginning to look positively offensive: in the UK, a standard spot is around 3 by 5 metres. The average size of newly built one-bedroom homes in the UK currently stands at just 46m2. You do the maths. 

Add to that the fact that a growing number of cities around the world are aiming to go car-free in the coming decades, and the huge areas given over to parking spaces look increasingly pointless. Here’s a few suggestions for how to re-use them. 

1. Parklets

Full disclosure: we hate the word “parklet”. But we do like the idea that a standard road-sized parking spot can become a mini-park, complete with seating and plants.

Here’s one from San Francisco:

Image: Freewheel parklet.

2. An awful lot of bike parking

The space used by one car at rest can hold ten or more bikes – a point these racks, from company Cyclehoop, make abundantly clear:

Content from our partners
All eyes on net zero: How cities execute world-class emissions strategies
How to make markets a main player in the urban energy transition
How Newham can lead the way on net zero 

Image: Cyclehoop

3. A tiny house

We have lots of parking spaces, but not so much housing. So a company in America has designed fully equipped, tiny houses called SCAPpads that fit inside a single parking spaces: 

Image: SCADpad.

They’re intended for use inside parking garages, and if you’re really lucky you can use the space next door as a garden. 

Another, somewhat easier, option: a caravan.

4. Golf

This mini golf course was created as part of Park(ing) day, held every September, when people around the world are encouraged to transform parking spots into parks.

5. Camping

Who needs a forest when you can drive everyone insane with your bongos, guitar and campfire right outside your own front door? 

Image: Solutions Twin Cities via Flickr.


So next time someone lectures you about city centre parking minimums, stay strong: that could be your holiday spot/house/golf club they’re talking about. Tell them to take the bus. 

This article is from the CityMetric archive: some formatting and images may not be present.
Websites in our network