When the automobile was first introduced, few Americans predicted its fundamental impact, not only on how people would travel, but on the American landscape itself. Instead of reducing the amount of wheeled transport on public roads, the advent of mass-produced cars caused congestion, at the curb and in the right-of-way, from small midwestern farm towns to New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles.
Lots of Parking examines a neglected aspect of this rise of the automobile: the impact on America not of cars in motion but of cars at rest. While most studies have tended to focus on highway construction and engineering improvements to accommodate increasing flow and the desire for speed, John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle examine a fundamental feature of the urban, and suburban, scene—the parking lot. Their lively and exhaustive exploration traces the history of parking from the curbside to the rise of public and commercial parking lots and garages and the concomitant demolition of the old pedestrian-oriented urban infrastructure. In an accessible style enhanced by a range of interesting and unusual illustrations, Jakle and Sculle discuss the role of parking in downtown revitalization efforts and, by contrast, its role in the promotion of outlying suburban shopping districts and its incorporation into our neighborhoods and residences.
Like Jakle and Sculle’s earlier works on car culture, Lots of Parking will delight and fascinate professional planners, landscape designers, geographers, environmental historians, and interested citizens alike.
Published in association with the Center for American Places