Losing the Lot

Henry Grabar on what parking has done to us

Céline Colin (Flickr/celine181)
Céline Colin (Flickr/celine181)

In certain cities, parking may seem like a scarce commodity, especially when you’re circling the block in search of it. But in the United States, there are three to eight spots for every car, depending on whom you ask. Municipal codes that dictate how much parking buildings are required to offer have changed urban density, the cost of housing, and the amount of time drivers spend on the road. In his new book, Paved Paradise, Slate staff writer Henry Grabar makes the compelling case that the simple, rectangular parking spot has shaped the city as we know it. In the past two decades, many people have begun to question the parking paradigm and sought to banish outdated parking minimums, repurpose disused garages, and reimagine the way we use the space we’ve heretofore allotted to cars. Grabar joins the podcast this week to talk about what they’re up against, and what new world potentially awaits us.

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Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek. Follow us on Twitter @TheAmScho or on Facebook.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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