Evolution in Car-Park Development

Parking spaces are an integral part of the urban landscape that evolves with cities. Modern car-parks are multi-purpose facilities with recreational spaces, high-tech infrastructure and redevelopment opportunities (if forecasts of reduction in number of private cars come true).
Approaches in international parking space development practices show that the main focus is on the development of car-park multifunctionality, technological versatility and transformation, i.e. the ability to change the type of future use.


Additional functions help the infrastructure facility to use space efficiently when land resources are scarce. Designing and approving of multifunctional infrastructure facilities require more time and financial expenses from the investor. However, the effort pays off with low vacancy rates, increased rates and a long period of demand for the facility. Possible functions include leisure, sports, shoreline enhancement, environmental protection, temporary entertainment and business activities.

EXAMPLE 1. Park 'n' Play is is a multi-level car-park with a functional roof.

A multi-level car-park with a playground and sports area on the roof was built within a development project of the former port area Nordhavnen in Copenhagen in 2015.

Integration of the building into its surroundings was achieved through its framework structure with, where the idea of vertical greenery was implemented: the plants hide the cars together with the stairs running along the façade.
7,200-square-meter building
development area
parking bays

EXAMPLE 2. SAIT Parking Garage is a three-level car-park with a rooftop soccer pitch.

In 2009, a car park was built in the campus of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (Calgary, Canada). The client required a low-rise project, so the roof was designed as a soccer pitch what made the infrastructure facility a part of the university's landscape.
36,000-square-meter building
USD 92 m - project budget
1,150 parking bays

EXAMPLE 3. Underground Parking Katwijk Aan Zee is an underground car park with leisure and shore protection functions.

The underground garage in Katwijk (Netherlands) was implemented in 2016 not only as a parking garage, but also as a technological solution to protect the shoreline from flooding. Architecturally, the site is integrated into the landscape of dunes and does not compromise the integrity of the coastal zone.
15-000-square-meter development area
663 parking bays


A smart city concept will not be complete without hi-tech car-parks integrated into the urban infrastructure. Smart technologies create cost-effective and more environmentally sustainable infrastructure demanded in public. Smart car-parks are compact and provide the investor with more income, help the city administration to manage the city economy efficiently and to save driver's personal time.
1. IoT (Internet of Things) communication device system. The technology allows drivers to see on their smartphone in the real time mode which multi-storey carparks have free spaces. IoT technology implementation results in San Francisco:
  • 43% reduction in time used by driver to find a free space
  • 30% reduction in distance covered during the space search

2. Automated multi-level parking systems. A shelving system greatly saves space and costs during construction. The technology can be used in surface and underground car parks regardless of the type and scale of property: from large office buildings to detached houses. The vehicle is scanned upon entry and transferred to the parking bay by a robotic platform.
  • 4 times higher capacity of automated parking systems than of conventional ones

3. Solar farms integrated into a surface car-park. Awnings with solar panels provide the necessary shade for parking lots during the day time and free lighting at night through the energy accumulated during the sunshine. The generation of surplus energy provides an opportunity for charging electric vehicles and reduces the utility costs of adjacent premises.

4. Parking systems and parking robot technology. Vehicle-integrated sensors and autonomous parking robots require no additional infrastructure, but allow for more compact parking both along roads and in multi-level car-parks.
  • 2 times less parking space needed when a parking robot is use

EXAMPLE. Volkswagen's Autotürme.

Volkswagen's ground-mounted car towers in Wolfsburg, Germany, were built to store and to demonstrate the car fleet to potential buyers. They are connected to the main plant by a long underground tunnel that transports the cars by a robotic system from the assembly area to parking bays. The towers made the region popular for tourists.
about USD 476 m
800 parking bays


While many solutions are aimed at optimizing and adapting the functionality of existing car-parks, the most advanced facilities are heading for the future, for the era of unmanned cars with higher ceilings and flat floors when the buildings should be able to adapt to another functional use.

EXAMPLE 1. Abandoned Knightley's Parking Garage in Wichita downtown, USA.

It was converted into a residential complex with 44 apartments with terraces, private parking bays, a gym and office units. The investor gained the status of a historical building and related tax benefits herewith what was one of the incentives for the project.
9,400-square-meter facility
60 years of operation before redevelopment

EXAMPLE 2. The Summit Hotel and Convention Center in Cincinnati, USA.

This is an example of adaptation of a former car-park built in 1959. In addition to hotel rooms, the building has numerous conference rooms, an art gallery, a garden, catering facilities and a bee farm for complementing guests with honey. The project implementation led to the revitalization of the district: the construction of a large business center and a residential complex began in the neighboring area.
40,000-square-meter facility
239 rooms
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