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A generation that does not need parking

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The micro-living trend sees more people able to live and work in the CBD, allowing them to commute to work with public transport

Could parking lots become obsolete? It’s an international trend and while South Africa lags behind, the cards are already on the table to have bays repurposed in the future.

Neil Gardner, chief executive of Gardner Property Solutions, an experienced developer instrumental in bringing micro units to South Africa, says, for instance, parking bays at the1 on Albert development in Woodstock are sold separately and only every second purchaser buys a parking bay.
This highlights the trend of a younger market choosing not to own cars and instead use public transport, bicycles and service providers such as Uber.
“That parking uptake is low at the development should please city planners who are encouraging developers to futureproof parking areas by putting in sufficient floor-to-ceiling height to encourage parking areas to become apartments. It is envisaged public transport’s share of the market will increase dramatically and private transport will decrease. This will take pressure off roads,” says Gardner.
Access to public transport is also seen as a force shaping commercial real estate, says Sean Paul, executive director of Spire Property Management.
“Internationally more urbanites are gradually turning against the car and the vast amount of space taken up in urban centres by parking garages and lots. Some buildings are being built in cities that have no parking whatsoever. As many as 56% of New York households don’t own a car.
“South Africa will eventually catch up with international cities. This will open possibilities as landlords repurpose and redevelop what was previously designated parking into innovative new urban spaces,” says Paul. 
Things are already pointing in this direction, he says: The micro-living trend sees more people able to live and work in the CBD, allowing them to commute to work with public transport; the Western Cape Department of Transport encourages carpooling; provincial government encourages employers to allow employees to work flexi-time, and a growing workforce is working remotely, not adding their vehicle to gridlocked roads.

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