Measuring car space and transforming it into space for people

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

As driving rates reach (or surpass) pre-pandemic levels, many governments in the Global North are preparing investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In doing so, these governments are perpetuating the pre-pandemic status quo of harmful automobility. Limited resources that could be spent to improve walking, wheeling, cycling, and public transport infrastructure will instead be spent to subsidise decades of future car use. While electrification of the global car fleet would likely reduce carbon emissions, the ongoing climate emergency and related social and public health crises require more transformative action. One such action would be reclaiming large amounts of “car space” to benefit human and environmental health and wellbeing. This presentation will describe a project currently underway to develop a method for measuring car space—the space consumed by the operation and storage of motor vehicles—using GIS and secondary data. The project focuses on the case study of Edinburgh, Scotland which has lower levels of car use compared to most UK cities but still dedicates a large portion of the public realm to parking and street space for cars. Once car space is defined, measured, and located, local residents and governments can begin to develop more environmentally and socially just uses for that space. Potential uses of car space include walking paths, allotments, parks, and affordable housing. Investing in these aspirational land uses can make space for healthy communities instead of space for more cars.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
EventRoyal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference - Newcastle University, Newcastle, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Aug 20222 Sept 2022


ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society with Institute of British Geographers Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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