Paved Paradise

New York is place of constant transition and continual adaptation as the number of inhabitants swells over time. During a short trip to New York City, I spent time wandering through the city’s districts, fascinated by how New York City uses one of its most precious resources: empty space.

A decision by lawmakers in the 1980s to limit the number of parking garages to encourage New Yorkers to use public transport and improve air quality has added to the changing dynamics of the city. Parking lots in general, are a mark of transition, occupying empty land between intended uses. In New York, horse stables were replaced with parking garages and now parking garages are making way for high-end residential and commercial real estate. For some, the change is welcome as new bike lanes are added and a parking lot, rather than a favourite restaurant, is lost to a new office block. For others, it is a symbol that the city is falling into the hands of the wealthy, at the expense of the average New Yorker.

This collection is a visual exploration and study of transition and spatial design within a world-renowned metropolis. It shows how parking lots are being swallowed by high rise buildings, rendering them “relics” of the city and marks of change. It contrasts the intensive and innovative use of commercial space with empty and derelict lots, left to their own demise.

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