ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking

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MIT Press, 2012 - Architecture - 157 pages

There are an estimated 600,000,000 passenger cars in the world, and that number isincreasing every day. So too is Earth's supply of parking spaces. In some cities, parking lots covermore than one-third of the metropolitan footprint. It's official: we have paved paradise and put upa parking lot. In ReThinking a Lot, Eran Ben-Joseph shares a different visionfor parking's future. Parking lots, he writes, are ripe for transformation. After all, as he pointsout, their design and function has not been rethought since the 1950s. With this book, Ben-Josephpushes the parking lot into the twenty-first century.

Can't parking lots beaesthetically pleasing, environmentally and architecturally responsible? Used for something otherthan car storage? Ben-Joseph shows us that they can. He provides a visual history of this oftenignored urban space, introducing us to some of the many alternative and nonparking purposes thatparking lots have served--from RV campgrounds to stages for "Shakespeare in the ParkingLot." He shows us parking lots that are not concrete wastelands but lushly planted with treesand flowers and beautifully integrated with the rest of the built environment. With purposefuldesign, Ben-Joseph argues, parking lots could be significant public places, contributing as much totheir communities as great boulevards, parks, or plazas. For all the acreage they cover, parkinglots have received scant attention. It's time to change that; it's time to rethink thelot.

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About the author (2012)

Eran Ben-Joseph has worked as a city planner and urban designer in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning at MIT, he is the author of The Code of the City (MIT Press) and coauthor of Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities and RENEW Town.

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