Parking lots cause lots of problems, inspire lots of quotes and, once upon a time, started a movement

Bill Dawers  has strong feelings about parking lots, which he shares in his City Talk column, “Another parking lot detracts from downtown’s vibrancy” in today’s Savannah Morning News:

“They tend to rend the residential and retail fabric. They repel pedestrians. They generally generate far less economic activity than more intense uses. They create heat islands. They contribute to problems with drainage and polluted stormwater runoffs.”

And he’s not alone in his thinking. Here’s Donald Shoup quoting Jane Jacobs on how parking lots affect the sidewalks they border and the city at large:

“The presence of open shops and people on the street encourages other people to be out as well. People want to be on streets with other people on them, and they avoid streets that are empty, because empty streets are eerie and menacing at night. Although the absence of parking requirements does not guarantee a vibrant area, their presence certainly inhibits it. ‘The more downtown is broken up and interspersed with parking lots and garages,’ Jane Jacobs argued in 1961, ‘the duller and deader it becomes … and there is nothing more repellent than a dead downtown’.”

John A. Jankle and Keith A. Sculle review Jacobs’ ideas about what parking lots do to neighboring properties:

“A kind of ‘unbuilding’ or running-down process was set in motion. Thus, parking lots were ‘instruments of city destruction that could ‘disembowel’ a city. ‘City character is blurred,’ Jacobs continued, ‘until every place becomes more like every other place, all adding up to Noplace.”

And they offer a quote of their own:

“Nothing over the past century in America has proven as disruptive of the traditional urban landscape as parking. Perhaps nothing has made American cities less memorable…nothing fragmented the urban space more than the parking lot.”

It’s important to remember that the preservation movement in Savannah, which has prevented downtown from becoming “Noplace,” has its roots in a fight over a parking lot.

“Savannah was becoming Anyplace, USA and it was losing its soul. By the mid-1950s, the loss of the Wetter House, beloved City Market and demolition threats to the Isaiah Davenport House sparked the formation of Historic Savannah Foundation. Led by seven visionary women, HSF purchased the c. 1820 Davenport House and thus began the organization’s formal entry into the world of preservation and real estate.”

Why was Davenport House being threatened with demolition? So the land could be used for a funeral home parking lot. The question now is how to promote better uses for spaces left behind by buildings that were not saved.

Dawers offers more thoughts (and photos) on his blog.

This entry was posted in Business, Economics, Land Use, Neighborhoods, Planning, Preservation, Transportation on by .

About John Bennett

Transportation, land use, local farming and green building are all potential topics for Sustainable Savannah. The goal is to aggregate content about local events and projects, so there will be a central place to review everything that’s happening. The site is aimed at encouraging collaboration and information sharing between groups and individuals currently engaged in sustainability efforts. The site can also provide a snapshot of Savannah for green-minded people who are considering visiting or moving to the area.

13 thoughts on “Parking lots cause lots of problems, inspire lots of quotes and, once upon a time, started a movement

  1. Gaby

    - My spouse and i felt quite detlghied when Emmanuel could finish off his basic research while using the ideas he obtained in your weblog. It is now and again perplexing just to happen to be making a gift of points that many a number of people have been selling. And we fully understand we need the blog owner to thank because of that. The specific illustrations you have made, the simple website menu, the friendships your site make it easier to promote it is all unbelievable, and it’s leading our son and our family feel that the subject is brilliant, which is seriously essential. Thank you for everything!October 26, 2012 1:14 am

  2. Mitch

    - Thanks for the marvelous pitnosg! I quite enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and may come back later in life. I want to encourage continue your great writing, have a nice holiday weekend!October 27, 2012 6:30 am

  3. wiagra

    So, it is necessary that you plan your shoe budget before buying one.
    You should always seek advice from someone who has purchase the original
    boots before. Choose not only from the styles of the shoes but
    also make sure that they ate comfortable.

  4. health

    Simply desire to say your article is as astounding.

    The clarity in your post is just spectacular and
    i can assume you are an expert on this subject.

    Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated
    with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the rewarding work.

  5. car cheap insurance

    Oh la grosse colère, c’est mauvais pour les artères!!! et comme dit le philosophe : » Quand un homme a peur, la colère n’est pas loin ; l’irritation suit l’excitation ».Ah au fait : il manque deux virgules, et il y a un S en trop, le tout sur deux lignes : bravo. Même pour des insultes, il convient de se relire avant d’appuyer sur le bouton en bas à gauche

  6. ask

    Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this web page on a regular basis,
    this web site is truly pleasant and the users are genuinely sharing pleasant thoughts.

  7. Manning cach llc collection agency

    You actually make it appear really easy together with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be actually something
    which I feel I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for
    me. I’m taking a look forward on your next
    post, I’ll attempt to get the hold of it!

  8. Cellapuria Serum

    Usually I don’t learn post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do so!

    Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.

  9. zajrzyj

    Also, they have ruled the market due to their anatomical
    constructions of shoes that make the shoes anti-stress with
    special shock absorption system. They are going to almost any extent to look good and attractive.
    Moccasin UGG slippers are quite popular among the

  10. Restora Lumina Serum

    What i do not understood is if truth be told how you’re not actually
    a lot more smartly-preferred than you may be now.

    You are so intelligent. You already know thus significantly in relation to this topic,
    produced me in my opinion consider it from numerous varied angles.
    Its like men and women aren’t involved until it is one thing to do
    with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs great. At all times take care of
    it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>