Parking spaces are nothing more than a paradox. It’s a parcel of land that’s so vacant but so crucial that it drives how a city is perceived and functions.
It’s a common reality of how building plans are only approved with adequate or surplus units of these vacant spaces. It’s no surprise our cities look like more parking and less of life at any time soon. This shows how parking spaces have Zero function but have a very inflated value associated with them.
But something’s about to that will surely alienate their presence in the coming decades.
Cars are currently operated by humans, who require generous carriageways - visible demarcation and a lot more services (like ventilation, lighting, etc.) to actually function the way they need to. But what if humans are not driving at all?
A future of driving where people not driving is closer than ever. The two parameters that drive this massive shift in the auto industry are 1. Autonomous driving - This enables cars to behave like hyper-accurate machines that have surgical precision on-street and 2. Transportation as a Service - Shifting in ownership modes of cars is showing signs of decline where people are realizing services like Uber and Lyft are a cheaper alternative to things.
Assume a situation - the city becomes like a huge mega skyscraper - vast in the expanse. So vast; that only lifts get you across the floor above. The zero ownership of transportation is a scenario when transportation across the city is so smooth - that nobody has to own cars and cars roam around the city like lifts reaching various levels on a skyscraper.
And as decreasing ownership approaches - the thought comes to what will happen to so much human-centric parking available around the world? Will there be dead spaces of nothingness? Will these make our cities unsafe? There will be a new kind of parking spaces rolled out for self-driving cars that will not need light, or natural ventilation - while cars can be stored underground/above ground through narrow lifts.
These unusually large parking spaces will create zero functional activity and we will have a surplus of land back at us again.
Brief - As the transportation industry today is becoming way too uncertain, it is logical to ask how will a future with self-driving cars possibly looks like? There is a tremendous motion to fix this massive problem, as the entire world is designed for driver led cars, but no single point where to begin.
The design problem: Repurpose an existing parking space in a possible future when it gets completely abandoned because of driverless cars. How will the unlocked space contribute again to the society? How will this functionless parking of unprotected land create new value for the city?