Architecture and Planning ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-16-2022


Cities have little knowledge about their parking infrastructure despite clear evidence that abundant parking has environmental, economic, and transportation consequences. The objective of this thesis is to illustrate the need to accurately estimate the area dedicated to vehicle infrastructure (parking lots and streets) within urban areas. I focused on a method that estimated the vehicle infrastructure area within the Downtown Core of Albuquerque, New Mexico, by cross-referencing geospatial cadastral data with minimum parking requirements. Three parking space types were identified: 1) parking in structures; 2) surface parking (parking lots and residential driveways); and 3) on-street parking. To illustrate the need to accurately estimate vehicle infrastructure, I also estimated the benefits and costs of replacing 10%, 25%, or 50% of surface parking with various tree species. The benefits and costs examined were for stormwater runoff, carbon sequestration, air quality, property values, energy use, maintenance costs, and planting costs.

In total, I estimated that there were 29,120 parking spaces located within the study area. The area allocated to these spaces was between 8,976,801 ft2 and 10,000,851 ft2. This included the estimated 8,639 spaces in parking structures and 1,899 on-street parking spaces. The total surface parking was 21,986 spaces (including the first floor in parking structures), estimated at between 6,631,615 ft2 (0.2379 mi2) and 7,655,665 ft2 (0.2746 mi2), or 31.6% to 36.5% of the study area. The area of streets was estimated at 2,163,944 ft2 (0.0776 mi2), or 10.3% of the study area. Together, the area of surface parking and streets was estimated at between 8,795,559 ft2 (0.3155 mi2) and 9,819,609 ft2 (0.3522 mi2), or 42.0% to 46.9% of the study area. Replacing 10% of the parking with Northern Red Oaks would provide the most benefits: between $2,583,028 and $3,013,532 during the life of the trees. At 25%, the benefits were between $6,457,569 and $7,533,831. Converting 50% of the parking spaces would yield benefits valued between $12,915,139 and $15,067,662. Four species of tree yielded a negative net benefit: the Oriental Arborvitae, Common Pear, Japanese Maple, and Mexican Pinyon, all of which cost more to plant and maintain then the value of benefits they provided. The Oriental Arborvitae had the highest cost: 10%) -$1,827,188 to -$2,131,719; 25%) -$4,567,970 to ‑$5,329,298; and 50%) -$9,135,939 to -$10,658,596.



Document Type


Degree Name

Community and Regional Planning

Second Degree

Community and Regional Planning

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Architecture and Planning

First Committee Member (Chair)

Renia Ehrenfeucht

Second Committee Member

Rodney Moises Gonzales

Third Committee Member

Paul Barricklow


MPR, Infrastructure, Vehicles, Trees, Downtown Core, Environment