The greatest challenges with sustainability today are urbanization and motorization. As Earth’s population continues to grow, so does car traffic and issues related to climate change. It has been estimated about 30% of urban roadway congestion are drivers searching for a place to park. Car culture puts the pressure on cities to build more parking garages, which usually win out over green parks. Meanwhile, climate change continues to challenge cities to handle a great deal of storm water.
If we can agree that sustainable car parking doesn’t mean getting rid of all vehicles, including electric, what then is sustainable parking?
THIRD NATURE, a Danish architecture firm, designed a solution for the modern-day urban issues of flooding, parking and lacking green spaces with their project, POP-UP. A stacked green space, car park, and water reservoir, from top to bottom respectively, POP-UP uses Archimedes’ principle to store water and create floating space to store cars.
POP-UP’s varying height changes the city skyline based on the weather. On a dry, sunny day, the car park exists underground with the green space above. On stormy days, overflow sewers lead rainwater below the car park to the water reservoir. As the water reservoir fills up, the parking structure moves up. POP-UP works because of Archimedes’ principle of flotation which states, “buoyancy of a submerged body corresponds to the weight of the displaced fluid.” Hydraulic lifting and steering bearings, along with retaining walls and supplementary guide tracks, secure the structure’s movement up and down during water level changes. No matter the water level, the car park stays accessible to pedestrians and cars alike
While POP-UP is more expensive than a traditional parking garage and water reservoir, it combines three urban elements into one which frees up building plots for residential or commercial spaces. Plus, building just one structure instead of all three would save on construction costs.
- Communities, Businesses, pedestrians, citizens in neighborhood
- City’s Urban Planning & Infrastructure department (Buildings, Roads, parks)
- City council for water works
- Sustainability department
- Visitors and Tourists
Steps in deploying this technology
- Study the opportunity profile of a Pop up project and identify potential benefits for all stakeholders
- Propose to City Planning Commission a plan with Sustainable water works department to implement pop up designed buildings alongside existing infrastructure requiring use of land and modest funding.
- Bring a Third Nature engineer onboard as a consultant to translate the information so that an Urban Planner can understand it and use it.
- Assign the responsibility of incorporating pop up design into the urban planning process to one of the Urban Planning deputies.
In 2015, New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, along with Copenhagen’s Technical and Environmental Administration, signed an agreement to develop innovative climate adaptation solutions. Currently, the project has been developed for locations in both Copenhagen and New York’s St. John’s Park in Lower Manhattan.