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Is Boston Ready for an Apartment Building That Bars Cars?

A proposed development in the city underscores the tradeoffs and design challenges of building cities around the car.
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Sebastian Mariscal

The architect Sebastian Mariscal begins his plans for any future project with the same question, one that has little to do with the aesthetics of a building or the experience of the people who will one day use it. "When I design a building,” he says, "the first thing I have to resolve is my parking." He means, by this, that he must weigh requirements in most city codes mandating a specific ratio of off-street parking spaces for each new unit of housing or office space.

"Every developer and every architect starts the process like that,” Mariscal laments. "'If I can put in 40 cars, then I can do 40 units.'"