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 In the past two decades, many people have begun to question the parking paradigm and sought to banish outdated parking minimums, repurpose disused garages, and reimagine the way we use the space we’ve heretofore allotted to cars.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.
Go beyond the episode:
- Henry Grabar’s Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World
- Read his report on “How Paris Kicked Out the Cars” and explanation of how the concept of the 15-minute city snowballed into a right-wing conspiracy
- The Netherlands, now the cycling capital of the world, won traffic reform and bike lanes the old-fashioned way: through the civil disobedience of the Stop de Kindermoord movement in the 1970s and ’80s
- Hot on its heels: Ghent and its ambitious 2017 “mobility plan,” which introduced free “park and ride” buses into town, moved long-term and commuter parking outside of downtown, and thereby increased public transportation use by 12 percent
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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