Building for a New Urban Mobility


Illustrative sketches of a London development, showing how off-street parking can be future-proofed

Where car parking needs to be provided, how can it work with the principles of New Urban Mobility, and enable a transition to new uses, as private car ownership declines? Re-using plans from one of their recent London developments, Hawkins\Brown illustrate the interventions and design features that can make a basement car park convertible to other uses, in a future where New Urban Mobility becomes the most convenient way of moving around London.


Underground parking, which is built to meet planning requirements, is conceived with adaptability and sustainability in mind. Key interventions include:

  • A wider structural grid, higher ceilings and reduced load above ground. These mean fewer columns are needed in the basement, to create larger areas of unobstructed and reusable space.
  • Electric vehicle charging points are provided from the outset.
  • Light wells where basement parking meets the street allow for partial lighting of future uses.
  • A freight consolidation centre is located in the basement.
  • A wider ramp allows delivery vehicles to access a consolidation centre, as well as segregated cycle lanes.


  • The plant for processing car pollution in basement is replaced with bike storage as all cars become electric.
  • There is a dedicated area for shared autonomous vehicles, which are more space efficient and now operational for local essential and emergency trips.
  • The main road becomes a shared space dedicated primarily to pedestrians and cyclists.


  • As private car ownership declines, car parking spaces are converted to retail and leisure uses.
  • As logistics chains become more efficient and sustainable, local deliveries are carried out through cargo bikes and electric vehicles.
  • Car sharing space becomes defunct if investment in public transport means it is no longer required – the space is replaced with restaurant and amenity area (accessed via the courtyard between residential blocks).