Public parking spaces are an important component of urban design. They should be designed in a safe, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing way. The needs of pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers should all be considered while designing public parking places. It should also consider the use cases of open-and-closed parking spaces and the types of cars that will use them. The purpose of public parking space design should be to provide an environment that is safe, accessible, and comfortable for all users. This necessitates careful consideration of each space’s design, safety features, and amenities. Furthermore, proper signage is required to assist vehicles in quickly and easily finding their destination. Following these design rules can make public parking areas more pleasant for everyone concerned. 

Design Guidelines: Public parking spaces - Sheet1
Public Parking Space_©Dean Hochman
Design Guidelines: Public parking spaces - Sheet2
Public Parking Space_©

Design Guidelines

One of the most serious challenges of our time is parking as part of a larger transportation system. The necessity to house vehicles near destinations causes a difficult architectural issue as the vehicle fleet expands worldwide. The design of the parking facility necessitates collaboration from several professionals. Parking has frequently been reduced to creating the smallest stand-alone structure or parking lot possible, with no regard for human, aesthetic, or integrative factors. This has resulted in a negative public image of parking and frequently disrupts existing urban textures.

To begin with design guidelines for public parking spaces, it is critical to examine site requirements. Large and rectangular-shaped sites are ideal for parking spaces. Flat sites are often less expensive to develop. Sloped sites, on the other hand, can afford design. Opportunities such as access on multiple levels, etc. However, there is much more to consider regarding functional needs. For example, while planning entrances and exits and deciding on a design, the roads surrounding the facility and their traffic flow must be considered. The entrances and exits are critical to the facility’s effective functioning, with the type of use determining the opening length and placement of the entry booths and the number of entrances and exits.

Design Guidelines: Public parking spaces - Sheet3
Public Parking Space_©

Parking geometries should consider the size, height, and turning radius of existing vehicles, as well as previous and future trends in automobile size and statistical quantity. Several ramp design configurations are available, and different ones are appropriate for the facility’s principal function to ensure that your intended usage is consistent with ramp design. To achieve these needs, the designer must adhere to city laws. Furthermore, efficient structure integration is critical to the facility’s optimal functionality. For example, depending on the size and structure, optimal structural bays allow for the maximum number of parking spaces and automobile movement. Cast-in-place concrete, precast concrete, and structural steel can all be used as building materials while designing public parking spaces.

Designing Green Public Parking Spaces

Design Guidelines: Public parking spaces - Sheet4
Car Parks 2.0_©Studio NAB

Public parking spaces can be open or closed. In some urban and suburban areas, parking spaces consume up to 40% of the land area. The main dilemma with open parking spaces is that they can be either unsightly, with grey asphalt and concrete, or designed with trees that give shade and cooling for the parked cars, landscaped areas that manage runoff, and aesthetically pleasing, garden-like settings. Parking spaces can be built in a more ecologically conscious way. It is possible to create greener parking spaces and reduce impacts by using innovative site design, including quality standards in stormwater management, concern for community character, and safer pedestrian connections.

Design Guidelines: Public parking spaces - Sheet5
Car Parks 2.0_©Studio NAB

Green parking spaces can incorporate sustainable practices such as energy-efficient lighting and renewable energy sources, safe pedestrian circulation, and creating of major public spaces that can contribute to the overall urban texture. The benefits of sustainable open parking spaces include managing water as a resource by promoting infiltration and natural retention systems. It can also reduce the heat island effect by effective shading and alternate pavement materials, and it is a more aesthetically pleasing and efficient way to use land.

Closed Public Parking Spaces

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Miami Museum Garage_©

Closed public parking spaces are built on multi-story to occupy less surface space. Several examples can be found today, especially in big cities. This number has increased in recent years due to the growing demand for parking spaces. Closed public parking spaces can be both underground and aboveground. The uninhabitable nature of closed public parking spaces allows for more design freedom than the building’s habitable commercial or residential stories. Innovative ideas that take advantage of this freedom can result in stunning structures. This is most apparent on the curtain walls of closed parking spaces.

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Miami Museum Garage Facade Plan_©
Miami Museum Garage_©

The best example of this subject is in the Miami Museum Garage, where five architects from Miami’s Design District, including WORKac, Nicolas Buffe, Clavel Arquitectos, K/R Architects, and Jürgen Mayer, “aggressively” elaborated five façades of a simple car-parking garage. The Museum Garage building was built to hold 800 cars, and different facade parts represent diverse meanings. In a way, the architect says that the closed public parking spaces facade transforms the simple and often frustrating act of parking a car into an unexpected opportunity for social interaction.

Miami Museum Garage_©
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Miami Museum Garage_©

Reference List: 

  1. (n.d.). Lake Forest Park, WA – Official Website | Official Website. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Mar. 2023].
  2. (n.d.). Parking Facilities | WBDG – Whole Building Design Guide. [online] Available at:
  4. Anon, (n.d.). Miami Museum Garage – WORKac. [online] Available at: [Accessed 12 Mar. 2023].

İnci is an architect who is passionate about interdisciplinary discussion in the field of architecture.In her point of view architecture is not only about aesthetics and art but is an understanding and constant thinking of creating space for living thing.She loves to research,read,learn and write about different perspectives of architecture.