Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2003.
Many cities are facing acute difficulties in providing parking space, especially in central areas. This problem is also prevalent in Western Europe. In North American cities, suburbanization has often resulted in the abandonment of buildings in central areas. Many of these facilities have been torn down and converted into parking spaces (either as vacant lots or as dedicated multistoried facilities) while awaiting better use. This process did not much take place in Western Europe, where the real estate of most central areas has remained relatively unchanged and includes the real estate of historical and architectural significance. To provide parking space, many European cities have been forced to build underground facilities that are expensive and rarely able to provide for the demand. The above photo was taken in downtown Brussels where motorists desperate for parking space have parked their vehicles along a walkway in a public space, which has been severely degraded.