The book on parking we have been waiting for

ReThinking A Lot is the clever title of a new book by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning Eran Ben-Joseph.

In the book  Ben-Joseph shows that parking lots need not be concrete or asphalt wastelands but can be heavily planted with trees and flowers and properly linked to the rest of the built environment. He suggests that parking lots can be significant public places, contributing as much to their communities as great boulevards, parks, or plazas.

This is a book about landscape design, not about sustainable development but in fact it does focus on the sustainability issue, not justifying the automobile but suggesting that cars are likely to be with us for many decades to come and that while they are so prolific we can do much to turn the horrible impact of the parking lot or garage into something more attractive, more useful, and more sustainable.

Maybe it is time to have a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard for parking structures and areas. Certainly Professor Ben-Joseph’s book is recommended reading for everyone interested, professionally or as a neighbour, in design and placement of parking areas.

A summary of the book and reviewer comments can be found at

ReThinking a Lot: The Design and Culture of Parking. Eran Ben-Joseph. The MIT Press. February 17, 2012.  is available from Chapters and other good bookstores in Canada.

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