A Gray Area

by Don Friedman on May 5, 2017

This article on garages is somewhat confounding. On the one hand, I fully support adaptive reuse. On the other hand, building better garages for new development is still building more garages and therefore encouraging more driving within cities. On the other other hand, if you’re going to design something that is not great for the environment, like a garage, designing it from the beginning for its eventual reuse is a good idea. On the other other other hand, one of the problems with garage reuse is that oil and gasoline get into the floor slabs and cleaning the concrete for other uses is difficult.

My ambivalence can be boiled down to this: doing something well that I find inherently problematic makes the problems worse. On this particular topic my view is obviously colored by my residence in New York: under no circumstances should anyone be encouraged to drive into Manhattan, which means that building garages here at all is a mistake. Obviously that’s not true everywhere else.


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