"parking innovation" entries
Our parking problems need nuanced civic tech solutions.
“We will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit,”Â said the San Francisco city attorney last month, after declaring illegalÂ Monkey Parking,Â ParkModo, andÂ Sweetch, new start-ups that provide mobile apps for buying and selling curb spaces.
Some might see this as a case of cities standing in the way of private-sector innovation, comparable to regulatory fights over Airbnb and Uber. However, those profiting by using Monkey Parking to “share” their on-street spots are effectively trying to sell something that doesn’t belong to them. Curb parking is a publicly owned “commons”Â â€”Â not the private possession of whomever occupies a space.
Even if their solutionsÂ areÂ illegal, these start-ups are right: parking isÂ broken inÂ manyÂ American cities, and their solution is a business opportunity for both the public and private sectors. We need a thorough reassessment of parking management in American cities, and civically minded technologies are a big part of the solution. Thatâ€™s the thinking of other departments of San Francisco’s government as well as one of urban planning’sÂ most citedÂ and least read theorists,Â Donald Shoup. Â For the nascent field of civic technology, Shoup’s nuanced research demonstrates how new technologies and policy can together improve city life â€” and lead to true public good â€” at the same time as the city attorneyâ€™s enforcement actions highlight the potential pitfalls of “sharing” services designed only for private profit. Read more…