Friday, March 29, 2013

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Activating parking lots with design - Seattle's U-Village Mall


Paving paradise? Joni Mitchell's classic lyric to "Big Yellow Taxi" ran through my mind yesterday during research for an upcoming webinar on downtown safety next Wednesday, April 4

It happened during a visit to the U-Village Mall - a lifestyle mall in Seattle where I uncovered an example of Penalosa's maxim: "We can have a city that is very friendly to cars or a city that is very friendly to people. We can't have both."

A few years ago I wrote about Enrique Penalosa, the urban visionary from Bogota, Columbia. He's the former Mayor who helped transform a nightmare downtown during his country's narco-war into a vibrant and safe place. He did that by building for people first and cars last.

Wayfinding through parking lots need not be a gauntlet of horror

The U-Village Mall shows how we can do that in a parking lot. This re-imagined mall sacrifices sprawling lot design that maximizes quantity for a pedestrian friendly design to maximize quality. Playground areas for kids, water features, sidewalks and gardens - the works.

The U-Village Mall ignores large lots in favor of smaller clusters of 100 cars. This reduces the number of parking spaces (to the chagrin of some), but it creates a livable urban village feel (to the joy of everyone else).

Activating public spaces is a key for safety. My prior blogs on parking lot design show design errors of size and shape. Parking lots at the U-Village show how to mix people and cars. I suspect Penalosa would approve.

The webinar is next Wednesday, 3-4pm EST (12-1 PST) sponsored by the International Downtown Association. Their website lists details - IDA Trending Topics #5

U-Village Mall encourages sitting, dogs, and flowers 

2 comments:

  1. A sidewalk, or pavement, footpath, foot way, and sometimes platform, is a path along the side of a road. It is well for the general people to walk and also safe. Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful!
    Paving Services

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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