A parking lot and a plaza
The Memphis Medical District is a 2.6-square-mile area that has gained plenty of jobs, but has lost most of its population in the last 50 years. The area has loads of institutional buildings and surface parking lots, and many underutilized blocks.
The city and the institutions are trying to introduce mixed-use, including living spaces, to improve the district’s quality of life and allow workers to live nearby—so not everyone needs to commute.
These parking lots may be useful for multifamily and commercial parking, and yet they mar the urban landscape. A Memphis, Tennessee, new urban developer, Henry Turley, is proposing a multiuse parking lot—one that would serve commercial tenants but also become a public space for events with food trucks. See the rendering at top.
A key to a parking lot that does double duty is trees, note the arboreal plantings in rows throughout. This will create a parklike setting, covered in hardscape with dimensions that accommodate parking. The parking bays become little alcoves for tables and food trucks. The parking lot itself is a more pleasant urban neighbor, with or without events.
The plaza/parking is part of a development called Orleans Station on Madison Avenue, where a streetcar has been running since 2004. The 10-acre development includes 372 residences and 16,000 square feet of retail. It is named after an adjacent streetcar stop. The design is by Looney Ricks Kiss.