Parking lots have already been one of the annoying and boring texture of the city to look at on a map. The viability can be seen on a urban plaza, ecology and beauty can be seen on a park, culture can be seen on schools and libraries, but on parking lots, just tons of cold and energy-costing vehicles that come into eyes. So far, a lot of ideas have been brought up to improve the sustainability of parking garage. Using permeable paving is the most common one, functioning together with the bio-swale or rain garden on site, draining away or collecting rain water for further use.
While I just had a little “think beyond the picture” moment. Imagine when we all drive electric cars, which will come true someday, then we will need charging station instead of gas station. Thinking of the sea of parking lots, I think there could be opportunity to turn this annoying place in the city into something more useful and sustainable. If we build shading structure over the outdoor parking lots, and inserting solar panel on top of the structure, then we can save the space of charge station, and charge the car on site! (I think we’ve already got this in some city, but they are probably generating the power for nearby buildings, and will cause energy loss when transporting) What’s more, if the structure could generate electricity, then it could be served for more than vehicles, but also our phones, computers, Ipad… Several model being displayed might be attractive and appealing to people, which could be a way to facilitate more interest on the electric cars. Another idea is that portable chargers could also be rent from the station, like a vending machine, people can rent the charger in certain station, and then return it at the other one. This could be very convenient, at least for me, I always forgot to bring my phone charger with me, coming home with 1% battery. Overall, an idea trying to imagine a different future for endless parking lots.