Practicing resiliency in parking through energy adaptations

Author: 
Paul Wessel
Published on: 
Friday, July 1, 2016

In addition to trying to prevent the acceleration of climate change, we’ve got to adapt to it. Resiliency is about that adaptation, about building structures and systems able to withstand those “once every hundred year” storms that come with increasing frequency.

Parking garages are durable and often adaptable. They can serve as emergency staging areas, house backup energy generation or storage or be retrofitted for distributed generation. In “Learning to Bounce Back,” Andrew Zolli writes: 

Resilience thinking is starting to shape how urban planners in big cities think about updating antiquated infrastructure, much of which is robust in the face of normal threats like equipment failures but…fragile in the face of unanticipated shocks like flooding, pandemics, terrorism or energy shortages.

In one example of such adaptation, Related Companies removed nine parking spaces at Manhattan Plaza, a 1,689-unit New York City residential complex, and installed two 350-kilowatt cogeneration plants. Using this parking area, the complex was made stronger and more efficient through the addition of this power source and redundancy.

Two blocks west of New York City’s theater district on West 43rd Street, Manhattan Plaza was conceived as part of an effort to revitalize the Hell’s Kitchen area. Since opening in 1977, it has become the anchor of a thriving neighborhood of shops, restaurants, theaters and new housing.