Angie Schmitt, editor of Streetsblog USA and originator of the “parking crater” term is blunt – “a parking crater is a depression in the middle of an urban area formed by the absence of buildings.”
Whether parking craters are formed due to the meteors of 20th Century bad policy, a city’s erosion of manufacturing or housing, the abandoned scraps leftover by freeway building or just plain unfortunate luck, they absolutely destroy sections of city downtowns and make the environment more inhospitable and unattractive for livable streets. In these areas there is virtually no street life or vitality. You’ll find little greenery or open space. In hotter cities the heating of the asphalt and parked cars make the air oppressive. It’s hell on earth. It is a parking crater.
In this Streetfilm we get to talk to some advocates in Cleveland, Dallas, Hartford and Houston about the parking craters they’ve entered in Streetsblog’s annual tournament (created in 2013) to talk about why their cities have such bad craters.
Note: If this film is well received, we fully intend on doing a follow-up film looking at the flip side: cities who have changed their fortunes and adopted better parking policies to make their cities more viable and progressive.