July 2014

Parking spaces

Re-imagine parking spaces as micro-apartments – streetsblog usa

This 135-square-foot micro-apartment was one of three designed by Savannah art students that were recently set up in an Atlanta parking lot. Photo:

Can parking lots have a second life? A student project in Atlanta helps demonstrate the possibilities of each booth.

Students at Savannah College of Art and Design created three “SCADpads”: 135 square foot micro-apartments designed to fit the space defined by a single parking spot. Three prototypes of the modular homes, which cost between $ 40,000 and $ 60,000 to build, were installed in an Atlanta garage this spring, to help model what may be a more sustainable paradigm for the city.

Each micro-apartment has been designed by the students to reflect the culture of a different continent: Asia, North America and Europe. Each was equipped with a small kitchen, sofa bed, bathroom, and some high-tech features such as iPad-controlled ‘smart glass’ windows that can be hidden for privacy. . Additionally, each apartment included a ‘porch’ area, the size of an additional parking space, and a shared community garden that collects ‘gray water’ from the sink and shower.

The design of this apartment was inspired by North America.  Photo:
This is the apartment designed for North America. Photo:

Since April, the SCAD facility has been welcoming people who spend the night, mainly college students and alumni.

Rebecca Burns, a writer for Guardian whose husband is a member of the SCAD faculty, recently spent the night in a SCADpad. She says it was a bit cramped, but not too bad overall:

I’ve lived in studios before, but nothing that small. However, while small in square footage, the SCADpad felt more spacious, thanks in large part to the airy design and those large, smart glass windows. However, the kitchen is tiny: impossible for two to work side by side. The sofas / beds are spacious: two of us got comfortable watching Italy play England on the iPad (the SCADpads come with fast Wi-Fi). But when friends stopped to visit us, we quickly learned that it was difficult to accommodate four people in one of the units.

There was no room for us to comfortably entertain our guests in our small apartments, but the common living room was relaxing and had great views of the horizon. The community garden provided a calming contrast to all the concrete – and made for salad for dinner.

This micro-apartment was inspired by Asia.  Each apartment came with a patio the size of a parking space.  Photo:
Each SCAD apartment comes with a terrace the size of a parking space. Photo:

Apartments 300 square feet or less have become an affordable option for young people in cities like Seattle, Washington, and even Cleveland and Providence, Rhode Island.

Hopefully installing the SCADpads will help enlighten Atlanta residents about a whole new range of possibilities for some of the city’s underused urban spaces.

A mini-kitchen for a mini apartment.
A mini-kitchen for a mini apartment.
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