Urbanization – the phenomenon of the advancement of cities through higher technological means and expansion of the population, both an eventuation of the other. Despite being a familiar phenomenon, it is more misplaced than any, perhaps because of its indefinite spectrum of implications which ranges across inattentive approaches towards nature to inventing modules of harmful emissions to nurturing explosions of populations.

Consequently, the repercussions of such an assortment have led to gross mismanagement of the ever-increasing count of automobiles and the adequate space necessary for them in congested cities.

Albeit, great strides are being made to adopt reverse interventions for the issue, the likes of which have only been conceived after extensive exploration through an urban ecological lens. However, to incorporate ecological balance into the solution of overcoming such a challenge does prompt one to question: how innovative could a parking design be?

Below are listed 10 solutions; projects, guidelines, and models alike, that seek to solve the issue:

1. Park ‘n’ Play

Parking House + Konditaget Lüders aka. Park ‘n’ Play is one that is an amalgamation of a parking house and a playground. Designed by JAJA Architects and constructed in Copenhagen, Denmark, the building is painted in a red tint over the grid planters that not only helps celebrate the culture of the neighborhood but also allows a greater extent of natural ventilation throughout.

Modeling a deconstructed yet fluid playground sitting atop an eight-storied parking space, the building manages to identify as a space that gives more than it takes.

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2. Parking Plus

Designed by Brisac Gonzalez, a London based architectural firm, the proposal integrates the residential and commercial sectors in one structure with parking spaces materializing as the façade.

Planned to be constructed in Bordeaux, France, the design suggests a reverse-intervention in the typically designed Bordeaux housing concept by inverting the spatial qualities to allow greater space for green cover on the outside and thus, advance the sustainable urban lifestyle.

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3. Automated Parking Systems

With advancements in technological interventions, great strides are being taken to employ vertical reformations so as to account for the deficit of space in severely congested cities like New York City, Tokyo, and many more. While other towns can accommodate parking houses merged with other amenities and features, most parking spaces in such cities can only allow full automation of the job and that, in turn, promotes sustainable urbanism.

One such facility is the Manhattan Valet Parking in Midtown, Manhattan designed and constructed by ParkPlus, a high-density parking systems firm. Other facilities include the ones in Wolfsburg, Germany and Aarhus, Denmark, and more.

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4. Pop Up Parking

The innovation project, called ‘Pop Up Climate Change Adaptation’ has been conceived by the Danish architectural firm Third Nature. Yet to be realized, it is an ingeniously devised three-pronged solution for the overcrowded cities worldwide that face the challenges with parking, flooding, and a lack of green spaces.

Imagined around the Archimedes principle and based on the effects of climate change, the proposal incorporates the finite space with what would otherwise have been a water reservoir, a community space, or a parking lot.

The architects have formulated an action plan for a 100-year event that intersects the three avenues of economics, space, and sustainability to use the floodwater as an opportunity to overcome a challenge. Hence, the project very effortlessly exercises the radical thought to impart a sustainable urban living to the users and those around it.

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5. Wooden Parking House

The project spreads over a vast expanse of 19,300 square meters, it is Denmark’s first wooden parking house. Undertaken by JAJA Architects, the building has a compacted spatial factor to it that makes space for an urban park and a public space that thrives on the greenery in and around it.

With a prospect of vertical expansion, the proposal differentiates itself through the active façades and boxed green oases, the likes of which will improve the climate resilience and pollution in its vicinity and therefore, truly brand itself as a green mobility hub.

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6. Odd-Even Regulations

Across the world, cities are expanding, but are unable to keep up with the growing population and the consequent increase in the number of automobiles; which leads to reports saying that a driver spends an average of 10 minutes looking for parking every time one has to. A result of which is greater congestion on roads, more pollution and hence, highly inefficient parking. To overcome this challenge, several countries blighted with pollution, including India, have endorsed the Odd-Even Regulations.

Delhi, India has now imposed the regulation that every automobile can run on the roads based only on the last number of their license plate corresponding to the day assigned to it on an alternate basis. Mexico City, Mexico has its take by adapting it to the color of the license plates and Beijing, China with a similarly formulated plan.

Most of these cities follow a congruent pattern of population densities, pollution extent, and automobile presence on the roads; which has been proven to be incentive enough for all the cities across the globe to adopt similar approaches.

7. Technological Interventions

With reports suggesting that drivers spend 10 minutes searching for parking each time one has to, innovative technological interventions in the form of applications and software have contributed greatly to the cause of environmental sustainability.

Several mobile apps that allow the drivers to look for available parking nearby have been developed which helps improve the financial sustainability of the users. A few such are UbiPark, HERE Parking, and GetMyParking which are majorly used in the greater metropolitans across the globe.

8. Bicycle Garage

This bicycle parking garage which sits below a residential complex, designed by the Sweden based architectural firm of Belatchew Architects, pledges to the belief that cities of the future will adopt bicycles over automobiles.

Given Stockholm’s commitment to be carbon-emission free by 2045, the project exhibits an innovative take on parking spaces by designing a large area dedicated to only bicycles and hence, encouraging the use of the same. Located centrally in the city, it exploits the full minimal space warranted to it and incorporates public spaces beside green zones, consequently enhancing the urban life of the entire city itself.

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9. New Underground Parking Garage

Located in one of the rapidly growing cities in the Netherlands, this underground parking space was a commission granted to the Royal HaskoningDHV; the garage showcases its advanced infrastructure technology that enables the entire structure to provide an extent of coastline protection.

The attention given to the materialization of the access and egress points that align with the Dike-in-Dune reinforcement along with the green roof is what helps the entire form to effortlessly blend into the site.

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10. The Michigan Building

The theatre located in Detroit, US was built in 1925 and is a piece of historic architecture; but, now as a building that houses restaurants, commercial spaces, and parking garages, it today boasts the beacon of the city’s regeneration by utilizing space that was unkept otherwise and has endorsed the principles of sustainability in urban cities.

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A deeper look into any one of the suggested solutions for parking in an expanding city will suggest one to acknowledge the wide array of interpretations sustainability has. But, while the automotive takeover on the urban lifestyle has created countless issues, they are also being rectified and altered to better redefine urban sustainability, one step at a time.

Hence, the very contribution each one makes towards innovating sustainable approaches for the growing problems of urbanization like parking and its inefficiency, we are again prompted to question: how more innovative could a parking design be?


A student in the discipline of Architecture, who ardors macabre art and as one with many words to speak, he favors the others alike. He is also a strong believer in the authority of Mother Nature and perhaps, also the kind who romances with the abstraction of the ordinary.