A New Urbanity

Photo: HG Esch

  • Boris Schade-Bünsow, Marie Bruun Yde

Critiques of the automobile as a devourer of urban space are on the rise – but so is the number of private vehicles in use in Germany. We like to drive, but are nonetheless annoyed by other drivers, in particular parked cars. But there is a way around this conflict: smart parking. The densification of a maximum number of vehicles in a restricted space is both necessary and attractive. Intelligent parking systems not only reduce space requirements, but also the time spent searching for parking spaces, not to mention traffic density and exhaust emissions. Since entries and exits take place in the access area of the parking system, circulation routes within are minimized as well. The displacement of parking places belowground, combined with vertical systems, frees up a considerable surface area aboveground, which can hence be rededicated to new functions. WÖHR is responsible for smart parking solutions in various cities: the skyscraper Chapultepec Uno utilizes only a restricted surface area at the center of Mexico City. The Heilbronn Bicycle Tower reconciles parking needs with green mobility. The office building Apolonio Morales in Madrid integrates underground parking with geothermal exchange. And UP!, a converted GDR-era department store in Berlin, generates a new and lively center while contributing to the shaping of a public plaza and the surrounding neighborhood. Parking is anything but a mundane matter. Everyday practical facilities such as parking spaces and bicycle storage stations should be designed systematically in ways that promote the desired mobility structures and engender attractive urban centers. The task of accommodating automobiles and bicycles while conserving space, thereby counteracting the urban strain caused by both stationary and moving traffic, offers a multitude of design possibilities that can move us closer to the goal of livable cities. Ultimately, it is a question of the formation of a new urbanity.

Boris Schade-Bünsow, Marie Bruun Yde

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