Trees in parking lots help decreasing pollutants and also reduce temperature on the ground line. Let’sdiscover its advantages and how to design a shady parking lot.
Has anyone, coming back to a car left under the sun, ever been in discomfort because of excessive heat? Isn’t thattrue, especially during the summer, when drivers always look for a shaded parking spot? Then why parking lotswithout trees get designed and built in our cities all the time?
It may look a trivial concept. When the weather is too warm, being in the shadow is more comfortable thanbeing in full sun , especially if we are in a town. Most people, in their spare time during summer, pile out inavailable green areas. Only there they can experience a feeling of relief from the oppressive heat that rests onareas with more buildings.
Covering the soil with waterproof structures (like building or roads), together with the pollution created by exhaustgas, creates in fact a pronounced increase of the temperature in urban areas. This is especially clear whencompared to green areas as parks, agricultural soils and gardens. This phenomenon is what we are referringwhen we speak of “Urban heat island”. Leaving the city center the temperature can decrease as much as 5°C(9°F)!
The shadow generated by the presence of trees leads to a strong reduction of temperature on the ground line,especially when that shadow is cast over paved surfaces. Cars parked in full sun can reach temperature even25°C-30°C (45°F-55°F) warmer when compared with same cars parked in a shaded spot. If the shadows aredue the presence of trees, things get even better. The benefits of trees in terms of pollutants reduction are wellknown especially when it comes to urbanized environments. Anyway, surely is more pleasant to come back to acar parked in a shady spot than to a car left in the sun!
Unfortunately, in Italy, trees in parking lots aren’t the rule yet. It’s very common to find parking lots that are verysunny, without any tree. The choice to avoid tree plantings can be due different reasons:
A well designed parking lot will produce beneficial effects in a short time, allowing for a better liveability of urban areas. But to guarantee a good result in terms of environmental benefits, some precautions have to betaken. Some suggestions to get a well done job when designing a parking lot with trees are shown below.
Increasing our cities liveability is one of the challenges that awaits us. The benefits generated by green areas have been demonstrated beyond any doubt bythe scientific community. Not just parks and garden, but also a tree lined parkinglot can help in ameliorating urban microclimate . So it’s also fundamental to spread the knowledge of trees importance for liveability in urban areas, in order to make trees in parking lots common in the asphalt jungle that our citieshave become.
Benefits of trees in parking lots is a well known topic in our design experience, asfor example in the masterplan of Marinella di Sarzana