Parking Free Residential Buildings

America – Home of the Car is trending in this style of development


It has been mentioned already for Auckland – allowing residential (and some commercial) developments to be built without the need for parking minimums. Already the CBD has no parking minimum provisions (but rather it has parking maximums) however, our second and third tier centres (Super Metropolitan and Metropolitan Centres) do not – yet – sadly.

This prickly situation Auckland finds itself in with parking and parking-free amendments is also happening in the USA – arguably the home of asphalt and the car.

From DC Street Blogs

Real Estate Trend: Parking-Free Apartment Buildings


A wave of new residential construction projects in places like Seattle, Boston, and Miami are showing that, yes, modern American cities can build housing without any car parking on site.


A rendering of the new Lovejoy Wharf 175-unit condo development, Boston's first car-free housing development. Image: ## Curbed##

A rendering of the new 175-unit condo development, Lovejoy Wharf, in Boston. Image: Curbed


Officials in Boston gave their approval last week to what Curbed called the city’s “first big-time parking-less condo,” a 175-unit project named Lovejoy Wharf. The “plan was met with disbelief in some quarters,” according to Curbed, but the city’s redevelopment authority approved it unanimously.

You can read the full article over at DC Street Blogs site


The issues raised in DC Street Blog are the same issues we are talking about with the Unitary Plan and Parking Minimums here in Auckland. Those familiar with the earlier Unitary Plan coverage around August this year will know Councillor Cameron Brewer tried to get a resolution through for parking minimums across a range of higher density developments in the Mixed Housing Urban, and Terrace Housing and Apartment Zones. Thankfully that resolution was soundly defeated in the vote of the Auckland Plan Committee (predecessor to the now Auckland Development Committee) however, the issue will come back up before the Commissioners next year.

That said with sound arguments and evidence (and Street Blogs just provided a few case studies right out of the USA), keeping parking minimums out of some of our developments (if not all of them providing good mass and active transit is available) via the final and operative Unitary Plan should happen.


From Street Blogs on Parking being expensive (same article):

Car parking is expensive: Each space in a city garage costs tens of thousands of dollars to build and hundreds of dollars annually to maintain [PDF]. Eliminating on-site parking brings down the cost of apartment construction, Knoll estimates, between 20 and 30 percent. That makes it possible for developers to deliver more affordable housing. Knoll’s California Avenue development, for instance, is targeted at people making 60 percent of area median income, or about $15 per hour.


“There’s been quite a few developments [of this type] and they’re quite popular,” said Knoll told Streetsblog. “There’s a waiting list for these types of housing.”

Parking-free housing is attracting buyers at the upper end of the spectrum too. Luxury apartments and condos are now appearing in cities like Miami and Portland without any car parking. Miami’s under-development, 352-unit Centro Lofts will have just five Car2Go spaces, covered bicycle parking, and a space for a future bike sharing station. No storage for private cars. That doesn’t seem to be hurting demand, according to the Miami Herald:

If you think this sort of thing won’t fly in auto-centric Miami, guess again. Half of Centro’s 352 units are sold even though the building hasn’t broken ground. Prices start at $220,000 and top out in the mid-$400,000s.



Transport Blog and myself (although separately) have been pointing out the above when it comes to parking minimums in Auckland. While this kind of development would occur in the CBD, Manukau and Albany at first (before spreading out to the rest of the Metropolitan Centres and maybe Town Centres), to make it successful and actually viable good mass and active transit systems need to be in place FIRST. Something Auckland is attempting but is honestly hellish slow at the moment (although I see Manukau City Centre has lots of bike lanes).


So I will note this piece from DC Street Blogs down and reference it extensively when I write my submission for the Unitary Plan early next year. Parking-free developments can be done in Auckland, we just need to be on top of our game in making such developments viable.