You are here

Lots of Parking

Land Use in a Car Culture
John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle

BUY Paper · 6.13 × 9.25 · ISBN 9780813925196 · $23.50 · May 2005

When the automobile was first introduced, few Americans predicted its fundamental impact, not only on how people would travel, but on the American landscape itself. Instead of reducing the amount of wheeled transport on public roads, the advent of mass-produced cars caused congestion, at the curb and in the right-of-way, from small midwestern farm towns to New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles.

Lots of Parking examines a neglected aspect of this rise of the automobile: the impact on America not of cars in motion but of cars at rest. While most studies have tended to focus on highway construction and engineering improvements to accommodate increasing flow and the desire for speed, John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle examine a fundamental feature of the urban, and suburban, scene—the parking lot. Their lively and exhaustive exploration traces the history of parking from the curbside to the rise of public and commercial parking lots and garages and the concomitant demolition of the old pedestrian-oriented urban infrastructure. In an accessible style enhanced by a range of interesting and unusual illustrations, Jakle and Sculle discuss the role of parking in downtown revitalization efforts and, by contrast, its role in the promotion of outlying suburban shopping districts and its incorporation into our neighborhoods and residences.

Like Jakle and Sculle's earlier works on car culture, Lots of Parking will delight and fascinate professional planners, landscape designers, geographers, environmental historians, and interested citizens alike.

Published in association with the Center for American Places


Comprehensive in both time and space, Lots of Parking is a history of parking across the United States for virtually the entire twentieth century. Jakle and Sculle document in detail almost every twist and turn in the transformation of the landscape, from one having virtually no accommodation for the automobile at rest, to today—one hundred years later—when urban built landscapes are dominated by parking spaces and the places and structures that contain them. The book adds significantly to our understanding of both the impact of the automobile on American society and the ways in which our [urban] landscapes have evolved.

Curtis Roseman, University of Southern California

For anyone intersted in automobile history and the growth of cities and suburbs, this will be a readable and enjoyable book. It is peppered with facts that will drive friends and relations crazy: the first commercial parking lot appeared in downtown Detroit in 1924; Chicago in 1998 issued four million parking tickets genenrating 175 million dollars of revenue....There is very little written on this subject and nothing really current, making Lots of Parking a must purchase for all libraries.


Lots of Parking: Land Use in a Car Culture, by geographer John A. Jakle and historian Keith A. Sculle, tackles the car at rest. Jakle and Sculle show how downtowns have to have parking—but tearing buildings down to make space for parking destroys exactly what makes downtowns appealing.

About the Author(s): 

John A. Jakle, Professor of Geography at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is the author of City Lights: Illuminating the American Night, which won the 2002 J. B. Jackson Award of the Association of American Geographers. Keith A. Sculle is Head of Research and Education for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Together, Jakle and Sculle are the authors of Fast Food: Restaurants in the Automobile Age, The Motel in America (with Jefferson S. Rogers), and The Gas Station in America.

Interested in this topic?
Stay updated with our newsletters:

Related Books