‘Urban hactivist’ Florian Rivière and his DIY guerrilla tactics have transformed even the most ponderous of urban spaces and artifacts into gags, visual puns, and humorous critique. Rivière’s latest project “Don’t Pay, Play” divines sports complexes out of the checkered parking spaces of car parks, rendering what is generally perceived as one of the city’s greatest, yet unavoidable ills into potential public spaces.
The quality of life in cities has much to do with systems of transport, which are often a source of much suffering for those who use them. Many cars, used by one or more people, circulate in cities, causing traffic congestion, raising the level of pollution, and consuming enormous quantities of non-renewable energy. This makes it necessary to build more roads and parking areas which spoil the urban landscape.
The Happy Math of Converting a Parking Lot to Housing
The exciting proposal to turn a large stretch of Downtown Atlanta surface parking into over 400 apartments is getting closer to a potential construction start. The property is located near Centennial Park, about three blocks west of Peachtree Street.
I’m happy about the added residential vibrancy this will bring to a walkable, transit-served area. More people on the streets 24/7 will be a great step in the right direction for this touristy section of Downtown that tends to be fairly dead on nights without major events happening.
But another big plus for the project involves math. When this ugly surface lot gets converted to apartments (fingers crossed — don’t want to jinx the proposal), the city will multiply its tax revenue on this parcel significantly. How significantly? Double? Triple? Read on — the answer is in this news article (emphasis mine):
“the property currently generates only $92,000 a year in property taxes but will produce eight times that amount during the first year after the project is completed.”
That’s right, a low-rise apartment building is going to contribute eight times greater amount of property tax to the city than a parking lot. Add in the economic boost from the mere presence of people living here — customers for nearby businesses, new MARTA riders for nearby stations — and you’ve got an incredible improvement on multiple fronts from just a single parking-lot conversion.
And we’ve got a lot more parking lots waiting to see that kind of return on investment, y’all. Let’s keep making good things happen.