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