Parking Lots Made of Grass

Short of persuading people to embrace generally better design, parking may be the biggest challenge facing many cities. Parking lots waste space, create heat islands, and underperform financially. Oh, and they’re super ugly too.

Writing for Governing, Paul Taylor recently explored ways to solve these problems. He recommends challenging our assumptions about what a parking lot can be and points out that many so-called improvements don’t go far enough.

As cities work to make large swaths of concrete and pavement more sustainable, they are rethinking the lot as a public space that benefits the people who live and work nearby. It is not enough to add landscaping to regimented rows of freshly striped asphalt. That model is limiting, not liberating, says Michael Lehrer of California-based Lehrer Architects. He suggests turning the conventional model on its head. “Park cars in a park, not trees in a parking lot,” he says.

Taylor also begins his piece by mentioning parking on grass.

I think that specific idea has limited feasibility in Provo — where fields of grass would quickly become fields of whirling dust — but the point about pavement and alternative parking materials is a solid one. And either way, its clear none of our parking lots were really designed with creative, out-of-the-box thinking.

An unpaved parking lot at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi. I didn’t love this parking lot, but as Paul Taylor recently wrote, we need to start rethinking our approach to parking lots.

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3 Comments

Filed under parking

3 responses to “Parking Lots Made of Grass

  1. I agree that grass wouldn’t work here, but there are definitely other alternatives. People in Provo have a hard enough time watering their lawns, I can’t imagine anyone watering their parking areas well enough to keep them from looking like crap.
    Provo is far away from letting anyone be creative with parking. Provo only allows asphalt or poured concrete (you can’t even use brick pavers) for driveways and parking areas, and a driveway must be at least 12′ wide, which means you can’t even have a Hollywood driveway (wheel tracks with a grass strip). This is nuts.

  2. Pingback: And the Streets Are Paved In… All Sorts of Things | (pro(vo)cation)

  3. Pingback: The Pavement Under Our Feet | (pro(vo)cation)

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