São Paulo parking minimums abolition
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Brief summary of this reform
The City of São Paulo eliminated parking mandates (parking minimums) citywide for all land-uses in 2014. This was part of the strategic master plan of July 31, 2014.
Why should you care?
São Paulo is among the largest cities to have completely abolished its costly parking mandates. It is impossible to ignore the precedent set by this enormous city with relatively high car ownership and 12 million people at the heart of a 23 million population metro area.
It is significant that this reform was part of an ambitious strategic master plan that focuses on people-oriented development and improved public and non-motorized transport.
Under this reform, the city refrains from promoting excessive parking supply. Another case in the Atlas will highlight another reform taken at the same time to more actively discourage excessive parking provision in buildings close to transit corridors.
Key actor type
City of São Paulo
enable housing or other infill
Secretaria Municipal de Desenvolvimento Urbano (SMDU)
Is it a model or a warning?
Main parking category
Main parking paradigm shift
Away from excessive supply AND towards more responsiveness to context/market
Adaptive Parking thrust
R: Relax about parking supply and stop boosting it
Goals of the reform
The new Strategic Master Plan sought "to humanize São Paulo and bring employment and housing closer together, rebalancing the city. And to achieve these goals it is necessary to fight idle land, which does not fulfill its social function; implement the housing policy for those who need it; value the environment; guide the city's growth in proximity to public transport; qualify urban life at the neighborhood scale; promote economic development in the city; preserve heritage and enhance cultural initiatives; and strengthen popular participation in decisions on the city's directions." https://gestaourbana.prefeitura.sp.gov.br/noticias/sao-paulo-tem-um-plano-mais-humano-e-mais-moderno/
Impetus (what problem, campaign, opportunity or event prompted action?)
Issues that prompted these changes included a housing deficit and dismay over the results of decades of car-oriented development patterns, including a tendency for housing near good public transport to be aimed at high-income earners, fenced off, set back from the streets, and built with large numbers of parking spaces per unit.
Detailed description of the reform
The City of São Paulo eliminated parking minimums citywide in 2014.
This was part of the strategic master plan of July 31, 2014 (Lei Municipal nº 16.050/2014), under then Mayor Fernando Haddad, which focuses on people-oriented development and improved public and non-motorized transport.
There were three key parking steps in São Paulo's strategic master plan that was released on 31 July 2014:
1. Eliminating minimum parking requirements (parking mandates) for buildings across the city
2. Prohibiting 'frontage parking'. The plan banned the creation of parking spaces at walkway level in the frontage area between the front of the lot and the building.
3. Discouraging excessive parking provision in buildings close to transit corridors. The plan made parking in a building that is provided above a certain level count towards the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in the zoning rules along transit corridors.
This case is about #1. Another case focuses on #3. See https://www.parkingreformatlas.org/parking-reform-cases-1/s%C3%A3o-paulo-discourages-excessive-parking-close-to-transit-by-increasing-its-opportunity-cost
The abolition of parking minimums applies to all land uses.
The city previously had quite high parking minimums. For example, prior to the 2014 plan, the following parking mandates applied:
* Residential: 1 space per unit smaller than 200m2; 2 spaces per unit of between 200m2 and 500m2 in floor area; 3 spaces per housing unit larger than 500m2 in area.
* Non-residential: 1 space per 35m2 of computable area for use categories ñR2; 1 space per 50m2 of computable area for use categories ñR1.
The City of São Paulo covers about 12 million residents at the heart of the São Paulo metropolitan area with 39 municipalities and about 23 million people. The master plan discussed in this case is for the City not the wider region.
The plan was preceded by a huge participatory process, the largest in the history of São Paulo, with 114 public hearings, 25,692 participants and a total of 10,147 contributions.
Results or impacts
A 2018 study by ITDP Brasil investigated the effects of the reform (and related changes #2 and #3 mentioned in the detailed description). This provided a clear picture of the situation before the reform. https://itdpbrasil.org/politicas-de-estacionamento-em-edificacoes-na-cidade-de-sao-paulo-analise-dos-efeitos-legais-da-legislacao-no-desenvolvimento-urbano/
However, it has only early hints of the effects of the reform in 2014 and 2015. An economic slowdown in those years reduced the sample size and muddied the picture a little. Nevertheless, some key findings were:
* In the period before the reform (between 1985 and 2013), 13,248 residential developments, totaling 755,716 units had 1,150,276 parking spaces provided on-site. This is an average of 1.52 parking spaces per unit. Assuming 27 m² per car space, this implies 31.1km² of built area was dedicated to parking or about 27% of the total built area built in the period.
* There was an increase in the proportion of housing units in the smallest size category (up to 65m2).
* Although the sample size was small, there was a reduction in the number of parking spaces per housing unit. About 79% of projects analyzed had up to one space per unit and projects without parking increased slightly. None of the launches in this period had more than two parking spaces per unit, down from 23% for the period between 1985 and 2013.
Sources and acknowledgements
Reinventing Parking (August 2014) São Paulo's parking u-turn https://www.reinventingparking.org/2014/08/sao-paulos-parking-u-turn.html
ITDP (7 July 2014) New São Paulo Master Plan Promotes Sustainable Growth, Eliminates Parking Minimums Citywide https://www.itdp.org/2014/07/07/new-sao-paulo-master-plan-promotes-sustainable-growth-eliminates-parking-minimums-citywide-2/
ITDP Brasil (2018) (in Portuguese) Políticas de estacionamento em edificações na cidade de São Paulo: análise dos efeitos legais da legislação no desenvolvimento urbano (Parking policies in buildings in the city of São Paulo: analysis of the legal effects of legislation on urban development) https://itdpbrasil.org/politicas-de-estacionamento-em-edificacoes-na-cidade-de-sao-paulo-analise-dos-efeitos-legais-da-legislacao-no-desenvolvimento-urbano/
Marcela Alonso Ferreira, Hannah Arcuschin Machado, Fernando Túlio Salva Rocha Franco, Fernando de Mello Franco (2020) Brazil: Sao Paulo, in in Dorina Pojani, Jonathan Corcoran, Neil Sipe and Iderlina Mateo-Babiano (eds.) Parking: An International Perspective, 1st Edition. Elsevier.
The image is from page 17 of ITDP Brasil (2018) (in Portuguese) Políticas de estacionamento em edificações na cidade de São Paulo: análise dos efeitos legais da legislação no desenvolvimento urbano (Parking policies in buildings in the city of São Paulo: analysis of the legal effects of legislation on urban development) https://itdpbrasil.org/politicas-de-estacionamento-em-edificacoes-na-cidade-de-sao-paulo-analise-dos-efeitos-legais-da-legislacao-no-desenvolvimento-urbano/
4 Feb 2022