Could parking decks become platforms for new housing?

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This is such a cool project. The Atlanta location of SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) has completed three prototype housing units inside a parking deck in its Midtown campus and students are set to move in this month. Above is the view from one of the micro apartments, as posted on the SCAD Twitter account.

An article on Next City has the info. Here’s a quote:

The 135-square-foot micro-apartments each take up one parking space, with an additional space for use as a “terrace” (seriously!), and were designed by 75 current SCAD students, 37 alumni and 12 professors. A dozen students will move into the apartments on April 15.

Are parking decks an untapped platform for new housing? It’s an interesting concept. Studies show that parking decks nationwide are operating at half capacity, and many are centrally located in cities. It’s an idea with big potential for adaptively reusing car infrastructure for housing people in urban areas.

The drawback is zoning laws that would need to be changed to allow for permanent residences in current parking decks. These prototypes at SCAD were able to receive special zoning permits, but they won’t last long:

They aren’t, at least for now, permanent dwellings: The students will only shack up in SCADpads until June, and even then each will only stay there for a week at a time.

Nonetheless, it’s exciting to see this kind of innovation happening in Atlanta. If it gains traction and zoning hurdles can be overcome, I can suggest a buttload of often-empty parking decks downtown that could stand to be adaptively reused.

Forsyth Street, Atlanta. My street.

Forsyth Street, Atlanta. My street.

The benefit of Atlanta being a late-bloomer with bike shares

There’s a must-read article on the Atlanta Magazine website this week for any bicycling advocate in Atlanta: Six lessons Atlanta can learn from New York’s bikeshare woes : The benefit of being a late adopter is learning from others’ mistakes.

The first of the six is this:

Make sure the equipment works. File this under obvious but important. Rampant software glitches and faulty “docking stations” (rental kiosks) marred the launch of Citi Bike and frustrated many riders eager to embrace the system.
Yes to this. I was able to experience the frustration of a glitch-ridden system this week during a visit to Chattanooga, where there is an extensive bike-share program with docking stations all over the center of the city.
After seeing monthly-card-holding locals ride around on the bikes, I tried to get one myself as a daily rental. I walked all around Downtown Chattanooga to six different stations with no luck as the touch screens froze up on every one half way through the process. No bike for me.

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Atlanta is launching its own bike-share program in 2015. I’m glad to read that we’ll be using a different system for bike stations:

The good news for Atlanta is that Cycle Hop has partnered with a company called Social Bicycles to provide a more nimble technology. The booking and tracking device is fitted to the bike itself, rather than to a docking station.
New York City’s Citi Bike program has been a runaway success when it comes to annual memberships, but it has been less successful with attracting casual, one-day riders. By coincidence or not, the system is managed by the same company, Alta, behind Chattanooga’s bike share.
Let’s hope Atlanta can learn from the mistakes made elsewhere and launch a great bike share program. I think there’s a real chance it to be popular here.
From skyworldproject. Even Godzilla appreciates the walkable streets of Atlanta’s urban core.

From skyworldproject. Even Godzilla appreciates the walkable streets of Atlanta’s urban core.

Three cool things seen while walking through the neighborhood today with my family and some stuffed animals: blue sky, tulips and a fire escape. Downtown Atlanta.

The leaves are returning to the trees in Downtown Atlanta. Scenes from a lunchtime stroll today.

Downtown Atlanta’s car infrastructure
This is a cool photo, above, but also depressing. Look at how much of this visible land space is devoted entirely to the movement and storage of cars:

Of course buses and bikes move on these roads too, but primarily this is cars, which is why there are so many lanes. And I haven’t even highlighted everything — there are some other parking garages way in the background.
This is Downtown Atlanta, the historic starting point of the city. It has gridded streets that were built years before automobiles and that were once served by a wide system of streetcars. Back then, these parcels that now host parking garages and surface lots were filled with buildings that housed people.
Even one of the most walkable parts of the city is affected heavily by car dependency. It’s impossible to live in a bubble of good urbanism in a metro area that relies so heavily on cars (and mostly single-occupancy ones) that serve the larger car-centric built environment. Sprawl affects us all.

Downtown Atlanta’s car infrastructure

This is a cool photo, above, but also depressing. Look at how much of this visible land space is devoted entirely to the movement and storage of cars:

Car storage

Of course buses and bikes move on these roads too, but primarily this is cars, which is why there are so many lanes. And I haven’t even highlighted everything — there are some other parking garages way in the background.

This is Downtown Atlanta, the historic starting point of the city. It has gridded streets that were built years before automobiles and that were once served by a wide system of streetcars. Back then, these parcels that now host parking garages and surface lots were filled with buildings that housed people.

Even one of the most walkable parts of the city is affected heavily by car dependency. It’s impossible to live in a bubble of good urbanism in a metro area that relies so heavily on cars (and mostly single-occupancy ones) that serve the larger car-centric built environment. Sprawl affects us all.

(Source: damnshelostweight, via throwback91)