According to the International Parking Institute's 2015 Emerging Trends in Parking survey, respondents said the most significant societal change most influencing the parking industry was the desire for more livable and walkable communities: "livability" for short. Livability is not the same as sustainability (which ranked #4 in the survey). In fact, sustainability is a subset of livability. But, what is livability and how does car parking factor into it?
There are many definitions of and ways that people understand livability. The magazines, Monocle and The Economist (EIU), offer annual rankings of "livable" cities around the world. The world's largest human resources consulting firm, Mercer, rates more than 200 cities for livability based on 39 criteria including political, economic, environmental, personal safety, health, education, transportation and public services. A 2014 study sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies and conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science investigated livability in 155 European cities by looking at the dynamics between the urban form and urban society.
While all of these reports are valid and important, their different methodologies and nuances make them difficult to use to understand the impact of car parking facilities and solutions on livability. Fortunately, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) provides a more usable and useful measure to assess car parking and livability. This measure comes in the form of the AIA's guidance for livability: "10 Principles for Livable Communities":
- Design on a Human Scale – compact and walkable communities
- Provide Choices - creating lively neighborhoods for residents of different stages of life
- Encourage Mixed-Use Development - for vibrant, pedestrian-friendly and diverse communities
- Preserve Urban Centers – restoring and revitalizing to promote stable neighborhoods
- Vary Transportation Options – reduce congestion, act sustainably and encourage activity
- Build Vibrant Public Spaces -citizens need welcoming public places for public events
- Create a Neighborhood Identity –giving neighborhoods unique character and creating pride
- Protect Environmental Resources – offering a well-designed balance of nature and development
- Conserve Landscapes - open space and wildlife areas are essential for a variety of reasons
- Design Matters - excellence is the foundation of successful and healthy communities
Livability is such a broad topic relative to car parking that we explore it in more detail in later pieces. For now, we'll simply point out that livability means making car parking facilities as convenient, safe and non-intrusive as possible. How to achieve these goals becomes the larger question. These happen to be some of the primary advantages of automated parking systems.
Automated parking systems (APS) from Skyline are ideally suited to address to concept of livability by being super space-efficient, very flexible in design and application, inherent safe and secure and providing industry-leading car parking and retrieval performance.
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