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May 26, 2021  

Parking Requirements: Cheaper Driving for Costlier Development

May 26, 2021

Back in the sixties, writers like Lewis Mumford and Jane Jacobs recognized that parking lots are dead spaces that destroy the spirit of a city. Fast-forward 60 years later and we have yet to resolve the issue, as driving has become required for many living situations and most cities in the United States.

In theory, personal vehicles have revolutionized transportation by increasing mobility and enabling autonomy. In practice, however, the promise of autonomy and mobility are only truly fulfilled if your car has a place to store itself. Consequently, the development of parking lots and structures is now systematic within zoning and development codes. In other words, the cost of driving has been brought down, but in doing so, we’ve driven the cost of development up.

This week on Upzoned, host Abby Kinney is joined by special guest John Reuter, a former councilman and columnist of Sandpoint, Idaho, and bipartisan strategist and board member for Strong Towns. Together, they "upzone" a recent article from The Atlantic—i.e. they look at it through the Strong Towns lens. The article, entitled "How Parking Destroys Cities" (formerly, “How Parking Drives Up Housing Prices”), examines how the cost of auto-centric development is ultimately passed on to tenants and consumers, regardless of whether or not they themselves actually drive.

Then in the downzone, John has been learning about how the brains of octopi can teach us a lot about our own. Meanwhile, Abby has been watching a series on Netflix that has got her thinking about the benefits of short-form storytelling.

Additional Show Notes