Biblio (77) Parking in New York

biblio 77- parking NY

The NYC Department of City Planning has just published an inner ring residential parking study examining all the complexities of that issue. The study focuses on a set of neighbourhoods in which the zoning rules require residential parking, but which have potential for a reduction by improving other transportation modes. The potential for an evolution is acknowledged.

Far away ports (9) The Plan Regulador Intercomunal at Puerto Montt- Puerto Varas

supramunicipal puerto montt

The plan – published draft

The plan (started in 2009, under environmental scrutiny as of 2013) defines a land use model for a 860 sq km zone including part of the territory of five municipalities. It encompasses two coastal areas (the southern shore of the Llanquihue lake and the seashore around Puerto Montt), as well as the main north-south Chilean throughfare, the Panamerican Highway, as it crosses the area. The aerial images show an interesting landscape in which this road, stretching along a plain, seems to attract varied uses.

The aim is to set a frame for urban growth, preventing sprawling growth around the lakeshore, conserving farmland and forests, and ensuring an urban model that respects the environmental assets of the region while providing services to citizens and prevention against natural risks. But maps seems to show a substantial growth area along the lakeshore, with some caution areas concerning natural risks. To be seen in the final plan… Anyway, the port is an economic asset, but what is transforming the land (as nearly everywhere) is the car…

Biblio (72) TERM 2013

The TERM 2013 report by the European Environmental Agency (which can be downloaded at analyses the effects on environment of the transport policies, considering the targets, the EU has established to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

These targets are linked to policies set to promote public transportation and non-motorised mobility. It seems that emissions linked to mobility are smaller than the targets established for each year, a positive outcome; but overall emissions are still 25% over the 1990 levels used for targets. Urban pollution problems caused by nitrogen dioxide are relevant and growing due to the expansion of the share of diesel vehicles in the overall fleet.

The report confirms that the cities in which public transportation and non-motorised modes are strong have less pollution and produce less greenhouse gases.

Barrio de Salamanca (4) Parking

Lots with parking space, according to cadastral data

Lots with parking space, according to cadastral data

A neighborhood designed 150 years ago, many buildings from the XIXth century. As a result, scarce parking when compared to other areas. So City Hall decides that there is a need to have parking under some streets and squares (red rectangles; there are in fact more, but they are not rendered on the cadastral files as such). Even if, as in other cases, some areas are not codified under a parking category, overall this dense neighborhood has scarce parking, but it is a real urban core

Lyons and Pittsburgh (5) Regions





Take land cover maps, change public transportation for car infrastructure, and but for appeased traffic zones it is sometimes not that easy to recognize the iconic image of Europe.

Bus stops and Port Authority bus routes in Pittsburgh

Bus stops and Port Authority bus routes in Pittsburgh

Appeased traffic areas and parkings (dots) in Lyon

Appeased traffic areas and parkings (dots) in Lyon, same scale as in Pittsburgh transit map

Individual homes in Madrid (4)


This is no longer a pre-civil war design, but rather one from the sixties. Madrid was still a rising capital in a southern Europe country that was far from buoyant, but a minority was already able to look for a home in a peripheral setting to be accessed by car. So this is no longer inspired by social housing laws, being rather an affluent suburb that had learned, if not from Vegas, at least from Uncle Sam…

This being a large development, many of the lots were built in subsequent years.

Lot area is substantially larger, on average, when compared to precedent examples.

There are some offices, but homes are still most of the built surface.

Covered garages are common, but they are not present in all lots. Lot area allows for easy parking on gardens.

Biblio (66) Subdividing individual homes in central Île-de-France

biblio 66-division pavillonaire ile de france


A new study directed by the Institut d’Amenagement et d’Urbanisme de la Région Île-de-France (the parisian regional planning agency) shows that in this region:

a) In most of the municipalities having experienced urban density increases between 1999 and 2008 there was no increase in land area for housing.

b) 25% of the new home units appeared between 2001 and 2011 came from pre-existing buildings refurbishment.

This has not happened in a uniform way across the regional space, with areas in which high real estate prices have driven a reduction in the number of homes (quite few and of small size), while others (most) have gone the opposite way.

Up until now the impact of these dynamics on individual home urban tissues was not well known. Some 2.000 homes are produced each year by subdividing some 770 individual homes, mainly in low- middle income areas with reasonable services and public transportation. Usually ownership transforms in rent units, to which young families go.

This text addresses something which is, in fact, a historical constant: as cities grow, their tissues usually densify, and now a time has come to see how a regulated urbanism copes with that on a massive scale.

Some can see here a victory for public transportation, as this concentrates growth in well served areas; I think more data is needed to see which part of residential choice is induced by that, but no doubt this is also relevant in a congested area as metro Paris.

The juice

gasolThis happens in two times: you first buy your car, and then it’s up to you to decide how to use that. To make a car all sort of products must trave betwen distant factories, and the car itself must also usually travel a distance to get to you. Then, up to you. If your car is seldom used, a giant SUV can actually spend less than a hybrid… and this can also apply to cities. A pitty that a thing to be seldom used should have gargantuan proportions?


Felipe II square in Madrid

Felipe II


In the beginning, there was a bullfighting ring, with a wide, alas short, avenue focused on it (a bullfighting ring placed in a city block in the middle of a grid gives you scarce chances for monumentality).  But the ring disappeared, being substituted by some housing and a large sports venue (D on map).

Department stores came (There are two large El Corte Inglés centers on A and B on map) and cars also came. During the 1970s there were still cars circulating, as on any usual avenue. Someone had the idea to make an underground parking, and towards the end of the 1980s, to pedestrianise that avenue, that, in the end, led to nowhere. There was even a sculpture by Dalí…

With an underground parking the square could only have trees on the sides; this is not really something strange in the Castillian culture, but in fact the Madrid summer made it a hard space to live, in a location so close to a huge retail centrality which is very well connected (public transportation hub on C on the map). Some 10 years ago there were already talks about the need to civilize that space, and finally a few years ago Patxi Mangado’s project was finished. The paved surfaces were changed, and some trees were planted on the western part, using elevated platforms on the parking slab.

You can certainly have trees over an underground parking; but it is rather complex, and the long term evolution of this kind of central spaces on cities is more compromised than it may seem.

The Dali sculpture in the eastern part of the square looking towards the west.

The Dali sculpture in the eastern part of the square looking towards the west.

The northern edge of the square, by El Corte Inglés.

The northern edge of the square, by El Corte Inglés.

A tree which is on "real ground". The tree pit grid is quite limited.

A tree which is on “real ground”. The tree pit grid is quite limited.

The square as seen from the west looking east.

The square as seen from the west looking east.

The trees on the western part of the square. The "plugs" on the sloped granite are a "solution" against damage by skaters.

The trees on the western part of the square. The “plugs” on the sloped granite are a “solution” against damage by skaters.

The trees over the parking slab

The trees over the parking slab

The western square as seen from the Dali sculpture. 50 m wide is really wide for pedestrians...

The western square as seen from the Dali sculpture. 50 m wide is really wide for pedestrians…