Could sharing office parking spaces with residents relieve the housing shortage?

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To meet housing needs in the Netherlands, some 100,000 new homes need to be built between now and 2025. This will only be possible if the parking standard that municipalities uphold is relaxed, allowing developers to leave room for fewer cars than the ‘at least one per home’ that the standard requires.

People who live in city centres such as The Hague and other city centres should be able to park their cars in office car parks. If better use is made of existing parking facilities, new housing can be built more quickly – without the mandatory number of parking spaces. This is the result of research conducted by the Province of Zuid-Holland.

Municipalities and the province's planners are talking about the limited space available for building homes in the Randstad and the urgent need for more housing.

Space is scarce

One in five planned new homes is not being built because the municipal standard for parking spaces cannot be achieved due to the high cost of land or sheer lack of space. According to the Province of Zuid-Holland, those homes could still be built if the parking regulation were relaxed.

As the Province’s spatial planning spokesperson says "Space in inner cities is scarce and urban areas have boundaries which cannot be expanded. This means we have to devise smart solutions. For example, making use of parking spaces that are not used outside office hours."

There are some 50,000 parking spaces in office car parks in or near areas where new homes are planned, most of them unused in the evenings. If people living in the neighbourhood were allowed to park there, this would reduce the need for new parking spaces. And could even mean that new homes could be built without their own parking space.

Double income

Owners of office blocks are positive about this plan: double occupancy means more revenue. In The Hague, where many government offices are located, the government property company manages 25 office blocks with 2,900 parking spaces and is eager to discuss this plan with the Province.

The car park owners should be consulted about the cost of parking for residents. "That is a complicated process, but it would be a shame if we don't take advantage of this opportunity. And of course, a project like this will cost money. But on the other hand, this would mean the new housing we want to build would be cheaper", according to the Province’s spokesperson for spatial planning.

Relax regulations

In addition, previous research concluded by the Province of Zuid-Holland suggests that people would get rid of their cars if they lived in the vicinity of a public transport hub. In recent years, new car parks have been constructed beneath houses close to public transport and it turns out that they are hardly used.

Some municipalities have already decided to be more flexible about the number of parking spaces required in new residential areas. For example, in some towns, housing in the vicinity of train stations is being built with fewer parking spaces.

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