Parking Spaces for Residential Buildings

In Switzerland, considerable controversy often surrounds discussions concerning the number of parking spaces that should be provided for residential building projects. The interests of the developers, public administrators, public advocates and building residents often diverge. In light of the controversy, EBP offers an overview of who wants what and the degree to which these preferences can be expected to influence future parking space specifications.

Up until now, clashes in the matter of parking space availability have typically arisen between developers who prefer to realize a large number of parking spaces and city administrators who feel compelled to abide by regulations designed to limit parking spaces as a means of lowering traffic.

Falling Demand

However, the interests involved are to some extent in flux. In large cities today, fewer than half of all households have access to their own vehicle. It follows that builder-owners in such urban areas, as well as in other areas offering easy access to public transportation, have begun to prefer building fewer parking spaces than the numbers specified in city and municipal regulations. As it turns out, underground parking spaces are expensive and difficult to rent out at cost. A recent analysis of rental agreements accounting for 21,000 properties indicates considerable rental losses for investors in new construction projects. Indeed, real estate experts see a need for action. The largest rental revenue shortfalls for parking spaces are seen in small and medium-sized agglomerations. In certain circumstances, some cantons and cities have already begun to encourage the realization of fewer parking spaces than the reference number.

Who wants what?

In an internal project, EBP ascertained and represented the divergent interests pursued by real estate developers, residents and cantonal, city and municipal administrators when it comes to parking spaces. We also drafted a guideline that anticipates future specifications related to parking options for residential buildings. When putting these materials together, we used compelling graphics to represent diverging points of view and previously unknown or surprising facts, for instance, concerning locations where there are more parking spaces than vehicles and vice versa.