This speculative project was commissioned for a series of articles by the Globe and Mail Newspaper called Fixing Toronto. We chose parking lots as our target.

The City of Toronto’s Parking Authority is in possession of a great (and as-yet untapped) resource in the fabric of the city – a network of more than 150 surface parking lots – that are presently little more than gaps between buildings, and not beautiful ones at that. These lots are often the result of the removal of buildings in anticipation of future development. While increasing density is ultimately a positive thing for the city, the removal of perfectly good building stock to make room for more cars is not exactly a “highest and best use”, even in the short term. These lots present an opportunity to improve the quality of the city’s open spaces through a systematized greening effort that will demonstrate the City’s commitment to sustainability.

Aerial photograph of Green P parking lot locations in downtown Toronto
Green P parking lot locations in downtown Toronto

We propose transforming these asphalt rectangles into a system of at-grade and elevated “pocket” parks that will preserve the Parking Authority’s important revenue generation role for the City (±$26 million per annum) while transforming a huge set of heat island-inducing lots into cool, green, spaces while ameliorating storm water loads, turning CO₂ into O₂, and generally making the city a better place. If the City were to designate just 5% of the revenues from the TPA, it would mean about 2.5 million dollars per year could be dedicated to greening these lots.

We have analyzed and broken down the different types of lot and developed a series of potential interventions, ranging from improvements at grade to the construction of elevated platforms with parks on top. One specific lot has been developed to give a more detailed explanation of how these parks would work to provide a new sequence of green space in the city, akin to the parks dotted throughout the city where old streams run underground.

This project is not splashy (or flashy), and given the location of many of these sites, they will be out of the public eye, but given the scale of the TPA’s operations, it has the potential to make significant changes throughout the city. The impact will not be restricted to the visual environment, but will mean a significant reduction of stress on the city’s overtaxed infrastructure, while setting a standard for private development.

Current condition
Current condition

project index

  1. A Conversation of Views
  2. Admiral Road Garden
  3. Airdrie Road Garden
  4. Airdrie Road Residence
  5. Albany Avenue Residence
  6. Aporia Records
  7. Asphalt Poetry
  8. – Poem
  9. Baby Point Gardens
  10. Beach Garden
  11. Beach Village BIA Master Plan
  12. Beaty Residence
  13. Bennington Heights Garden
  14. Berkeley Street Residence
  15. Bin-Scarth Garden
  16. Blink and you miss it.
  17. – Poem
  18. Bloor St. Apartment
  19. Blue Note
  20. Booth Avenue Residence
  21. Boustrophedon Garden
  22. Braemore Gardens Residence
  23. Browning Avenue Residence
  24. Brunswick Avenue Residence
  25. Camp Arowhon Offices
  26. Canadian Firefighters Memorial
  27. Centre for Teaching and Learning, UBCO
  28. Channelled Buried Moved Lost
  29. Chocolate Loft
  30. City Instrument
  31. Clarendon Garden
  32. Conversation Piece
  33. Creemore Farm
  34. Danforth Mosaic BIA Master Plan
  35. Dickson Park Garden
  36. Dilworth Residence
  37. Don Landing Revitalization
  38. Dublin Grounds of Remembrance
  39. Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
  40. Dupont-by-the-Castle BIA
  41. East Point Bird Sanctuary
  42. Eglinton Ave Forecourt
  43. Eglinton Park Master Plan
  44. Elizabeth Fry Society
  45. Ellsworth Residence
  46. Face to Face | Tête à Tête
  47. First Avenue Garden
  48. First Avenue Residence
  49. Flyover Canada
  50. Foote’s Pond Wood
  51. Forest Hill Village Streetscape
  52. Gaze, Glimpse, Glance
  53. Goldring Landscape, University of Toronto
  54. Gormley Garden
  55. Governor's Bridge Lookout
  56. Greener P
  57. Greer Road Garden
  58. Greer Road Residence
  59. Guelph Bridge
  60. Head in the Clouds
  61. Helena Ave Residence 4
  62. Junction Craft Brewery
  63. Kelpies Competition
  64. Kew Gardens Streetscape
  65. Kipling & Islington Developments
  66. Le jardin du repos
  67. Lenticular Curtain
  68. Liberty Village Parkettes
  69. Liza’s Garden
  70. Lynwood Garden
  71. Macroscape
  72. Markham Garden One
  73. Markham Street Residence Two
  74. Midtown Yonge Streetscape
  75. Mulock Park
  76. Nathan Phillips Square
  77. – Streetscape
  78. – Peace Garden
  79. – Podium Roof Garden
  80. Orchard View Garden
  81. Osgoode Atkinson Green Competition
  82. Owl Cottage
  83. Paperstone Scissors
  84. Peripheral Sitings
  85. Pottery Road Crossing
  86. rare
  87. Ravine Forecourt
  88. Ribbon of the Lower Don
  89. Riverside BIA Master Plan
  90. Roxborough Garden One
  91. Roxborough Garden Two
  92. Ryerson Centre for Urban Innovation
  93. Schulich School of Business
  94. Sheridan College
  95. – Trafalgar Campus Master Plan
  96. Spadina Quay Wetland
  97. St. Anne's Road Garden
  98. Stratford Market Square Competition
  99. Stratford Patterson Theatre Competition
  100. Superkids Dental
  101. Superlegible
  102. Sweet Farm
  103. Sweet Farm Pond House
  104. Swift Medical Offices
  105. The Meadows Reconsidered
  106. The Red Sash
  107. Thick & Thin
  108. Tipping Point
  109. Tranby Garden
  110. Tree House Residence
  111. UHN Tunnels
  112. University of Toronto Mississauga Welcome Centre
  113. Venice Biennale 2012
  114. Vermont Square Park
  115. Vernon Avenue Garden
  116. Walk the Walk
  117. Walmer Road Residence
  118. Welland Canal Fallen Workers Memorial
  119. Wellesley Cottages Garden
  120. Wells Street Residence
  121. Westminster Residence
  122. With Words as Their Actions
  123. Woodlawn Avenue Residence
  124. Woven Stories
  125. York Park