Parking lots are finding new life as cities across the U.S. are converting them into residential dwellings.
- Some cities struggle to find space for new developments, but some creative thinking could turn parts of the 2 billion parking places in the U.S. into living spaces, Fast Company reports.
- Parking can eat into a significant portion of available land in city limits. Los Angeles County had 200 square miles of parking in 2010. Since then, 20,000 parking spaces have been repurposed.
- While new housing developments do claim much of this repurposed land, other cities are converting these spaces into parks, and in at least one location in San Diego, the land has been restored to a salt marsh, Fast Company reports.
Why it’s news
Parking lots can eat up a significant portion of usable land in a city. In addition to taking up vast tracts of space, asphalt spaces have a negative environmental impact by collecting pollutants such as oil and gas, which can then enter the water supply.
By converting these spaces into usable residential zones, cities can lessen the environmental effect while providing additional housing to residents. More housing has the added benefit of generally lowering housing costs in a given area by increasing supply and driving down prices.
In addition to converting spaces, some cities are removing requirements for parking lots in new construction. In California, for instance, new construction within a certain distance of public transit is no longer required to include parking spaces. This leaves more room for residential or commercial use buildings.
Here are a few examples of parking lot conversions completed or planned across the U.S.
- Link Apartments Montford in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a former office parking lot converted into 553 new residential spaces.
- Howard and Irene Levine Senior Community in Los Angeles was a city Department of Transportation parking lot that now houses low-income and homeless seniors in a six-story building complete with underground parking.
- Mason on Mariposa in San Francisco is now home to 300 mixed-use and residential units where there were once 3.4 acres of parking below an existing neighborhood.
- Nohana Hale in Honolulu was formerly an underused parking lot but now features a 16-story apartment building with housing for low-income residents.
- 1742 Shattuck in Berkeley, California, is a car-free community with space for bikes throughout the neighborhood. The apartment building has 68 units for residents.
- Center City Courtyard in Rochester, New York, will be a five-story apartment building with 171 available units for low-income and homeless residents. The project will begin when it gets final funding approval, which is expected later this year.
- Shoreline Place in Shoreline, Washington, will be a converted mall that will soon feature 1,300 residential spaces in a walkable neighborhood.
- The Corcoran in Washington, D.C., was a parking lot but will feature commercial space on the ground floor and five stories above with 35 apartments.
- Passive House Modular Housing in Hamilton, Ontario, will convert a parking lot between two buildings into a modular apartment building.