Adaptive Reuse of Surface Parking Lots for Winter-City Streetscape Improvement: A Case Study of Saskatoon, SK
In winter-cities such as Saskatoon there exists a significant potential to improve cold-weather walking conditions for most pedestrians. To realize the walkability potential of a winter-city downtown, by necessity automobile traffic must be reduced. However, when surface parking lots are permitted to operate in abundance, isolated and uncoordinated, and detached from overall planning and transportation policy, automobile traffic reduction downtown cannot be efficiently achieved. In many winter-cities, Saskatoon included, downtown parking lots in fact are oversupplied. Vital space for housing, employment and public space is thereby reduced and pedestrian winter exposure to wind chill and sidewalk ice is increased by breaks in the urban fabric. Systematic conversion of surface parking lots into mixed use would not only enhance incentives to walk, but simultaneously would reduce the incentive to drive. The question thus arises whether and how can we screen a large number of surface parking lots for a limited number of candidate-sites that could be earmarked for infill redevelopment. A screening methodology that prioritizes potential parking lot sites ought to account for a wide range of criteria that address urban design, development-potential, proximity, and microclimate. In a case study of parking lots in downtown Saskatoon, a screening methodology has yielded one priority site out of an inventory of twenty-four sites. Integrated within public transit policy the proposed methodology has generic applicability to downtown areas elsewhere, and can advance the goal of safety and higher residential density downtown.
Winter cities, Adaptive re-use, Site-selection, Parking.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
Geography and Planning