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Parking Madness 2019 Round 1: Houston vs. Boston

12:27 PM PDT on March 26, 2019

We're getting into some of the heavy hitters today in Parking Madness, our annual tournament examining the damage done to city landscapes by surface parking lots. This year's tournament, however, flips the script, attempting to find the "parking crater" that has been most transformed into a beloved city space.

There's still time to vote in yesterday's matchup, which paired Atlanta and Oakland transit station infill. Minnesota has already advanced with a win over Kansas City.

Today we're looking at two major cities that have been growing their parking craters away.

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Houston

This shocking historic panoramic of downtown Houston in the early 1980s comes to us via Houston-based planner Christof Spieler.

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Spieler explains:

One of the most famous photos pf Houston is the Alex Maclean aerial photo of parking lots in Downtown Houston in the early 1980s. That exact spot is now Discovery Green, a thriving urban park, and the surrounding convention and hotel district.

He adds, in reference to the "after" photo that it's even better than it appears. "Apple Maps isn’t quite up to date" he said. "One of the lots at right is now a new performing arts high school."

Boston

Boston's Seaport is one of the nation's most famous reformed parking craters. The area, in fact, was a previous contender on our regular parking crater competition in 2015. But since then the cranes have been hard at work.

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Boston Seaport circa 2005. Image: Ted Pyne, MassGIS
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Ted Pyne, a reader who nominated this space, says:  "The 2018 image is already out of date. Four of the parking lots in the July 2018 image are now under construction."

Both of these areas still have a fair way to go, but they are certainly headed the right direction when more places for people to live and work and fewer spaces that are dead zones of unsustainable car storage.

Tell us which should advance to the second round!

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