The Future of Sustainable Cities: What It Has to Do with Your Office Parking
Sustainable Cities

Elizabeth Nováček | November 16, 2023 | 3 minutes read

Hello and welcome to the new era of cities that is steering away from car-centric planning towards sustainable and human-centric planning. Why does it concern office managers? Buckle up for a moment as we explain.

Cities are growing bigger and faster; Europe’s urbanization rate is expected to reach 84% by 2050. However, the growth rate for parking isn’t keeping pace as local authorities collectively rethink the fundamentals of our cities. Faced with mounting challenges, they need to accommodate this surge in urbanizing people while improving the quality of life for citizens. Simultaneously, they strive to meet ambitious goals to combat climate change.

Two big goals to meet:

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change, with the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, greenhouse gas emissions decline by 43% by 2030.

The European Green Deal has set an ambitious objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cities have a key role if the EU is to achieve a 90% reduction in transport-related emissions by 2050.

Transportation and, in turn, parking are two crucial factors influencing the outcomes of these goals. To meet these objectives, cities are rethinking how we use our urban landscapes. Parking is a critical aspect of achieving these goals for two reasons.

Firstly, it occupies a significant amount of space; street-side parking could be repurposed for bikes or trees, providing shade during summer heat waves. Similarly, parking lots could be transformed for mixed-use or housing development.

Car parking takes up 14 sq km in London, the size of 10 Hyde Parks

Car parking takes up 17 sq km in Berlin, the size 1.7x the size of Alexanderplatz

Secondly, reducing the supply of parking is an effective way to encourage greener modes of transport. If parking is scarce and expensive, individuals are more likely to opt for sustainable alternatives.

Beyond just implementing and planning car bans in city centers, like in Oslo, Paris and Barcelona (NB: we’re talking all cars, EVs too), local authorities are also simply reducing the amount of parking available.

  • Amsterdam is underway to removing 11,200 parking spaces from its streets by the end of 2025
  • Paris announced the removal of half of the city’s entire 140,000 parking spaces in 2020
  • Oslo removed all of its 760 parking spaces from its innermost city in 2019
  • Copenhagen, as a trial pilot, removed 66 parking spaces from its central district in 2021
  • Prague in 2021, removed parking minimums on new developments to help make developments more affordable

Just as local authorities are evolving transportation and parking norms, office space managers and employers should also play their contributing role to this exciting, more sustainable new future. Why? The workplace generates one of the most common reasons for people to get in their cars. In 2022, data shows it is the most common reason to drive in the UK and the second most common reason in the EU.

Due to shifting employment desires, competitive labor markets, and ESG requirements, employers are increasingly focusing on employee satisfaction, while they're also operating in increasingly competitive real estate spaces. We know rent isn’t cheap and that you also want to optimize your office space – especially so you can better prioritize people and leak limited valuable resources on car parking in an increasingly limited parking city.

This is the time to proactively adapt to this future and get smart about how your company uses its parking. The key to tapping into this solution is smart parking management. Smart parking management solutions provide a win-win-win scenario: more satisfied employees who can ensure they have parking, optimized real estate space for building managers, and a contribution to keeping cities on track to reach their sustainability goals.

Are you on board for this future?