New Yorkers need affordable housing, not concrete daycare for our metal death machines, yet current zoning requirements mandate that developers build parking spaces for residential buildings of a certain size. Three architects have designed a proposal that would reformulate those requirements to take public transit into account, build parking lots that would better utilize open space, and encourage the use of that space to house humans instead of cars.

Created by Sagi Golan, Nathan Rich, and Miriam Peterson, the proposal is called 9x18—the dimensions of a parking space. The architects found that there is more than 20 million square feet of surface level parking at NYCHA sites across the city.

Even more bewildering is where that parking gets built: 74% of publicly subsidized buildings have their parking on the ground level compared with 44% of buildings that aren't publicly subsidized.

The group proposes "fine-grained alternatives that consider the size and type of unit, proximity to transit, the level of affordability, and other relevant factors to further refine parking regulations in new construction."

Buildings near public transit would logically require less parking. The parking lots themselves would be vertical, and include playgrounds, food courts, CitiBike docks, car share services, and yes, affordable housing.

(via 9x18)

The group says they are "in discussion with City council members who have sympathetic ambitions, including Councilmember Margaret Chin from District 1."

Chin's district covers large portions of the Lower East Side, which has the most NYCHA parking square footage in the city, at more than 1 million square feet, enough for nearly 3,000 new housing units.

The group's plan is different from Mayor Bloomberg's idea to turn unused land over to developers in both its radical nature and willingness to include NYCHA's input in the process: "Folding NYCHA into the discussion is politically complicated but it represents an important social and urban asset and affords the potential to have a city-wide impact."

Michael Kimmelman at the Times seems to like it, though he says it has funding issues.

Asked to comment on 9x18 specifically, mayoral spokesman Wiley Norvell told us, “We certainly see opportunities to bring more services like supermarkets, community space and affordable housing to NYCHA developments, but any such development has to be the product of ground-up community planning focused on the needs of NYCHA tenants."

Norvell added, "More broadly, we certainly agree with the premise that we need to think creatively across the board at issues like unit sizes and parking requirements to maximize opportunities to build new affordable housing—something our housing plan calls for.”