Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun May 24th 2009 at 3:49pm UTC

What to Do with All Those Empty Car Dealerships?

More than 2,000 car dealerships across the country will be closing their doors in coming months. Planetizen – my favorite urbanist site – recently asked its readers what should be done with all that space. Here are the top five vote-getters as of May 21:

  • Ask the local residents about what the community needs (222 votes)
  • Urban gardens (200 votes)
  • Create walkable, vibrant places and improve current communities (138 votes)
  • Farmers’ markets and local events (126 votes)
  • Solar and wind energy park/vehicle charging stations (102 votes)

4 Responses to “What to Do with All Those Empty Car Dealerships?”

  1. Wendy Says:

    The problem with car dealerships is they tend to be on automobile-centred strips. Unless you can assemble the neighboring properties into something new, it might be tough to actually make the site into something that brings people together (instead of cars).

  2. Mike L. Says:

    This is a challenge. A large vandal-prone show-room, larger area of asphalt, and probably oil/gasoline pollution problems underground. This is going to be costly for local communities no matter what they do. They can only hope some developer will take the properties off their hands.

  3. Buzzcut Says:

    Create walkable, vibrant places and improve current communities

    Yes! That’s the answer! Why didn’t I think of that?

    It’s like the South Park “Underpands Gnome episode”:

    First step: Collect Underpants.

    Second step: …

    Third step: Profits!

    Changed to:

    First step: obtain bankrupt car dealership

    Second step: …

    Third step: walkable, vibrant place!

  4. Rockinon Says:

    Maybe a lot of them could be car dealerships. Any place I have lived in Ontario, there were always a lot of cars in the repair departments – oil changes, brake jobs, and more serious stuff. New car sales were but one part, and often a relatively small part, of the overall operation.

    I drive a 41-year-old car. With some major changes to the way we manufacture, sell and maintain cars, we could keep a lot of the dealerships going.

    We are always so quick to dumps stuff but dumping so many jobs is a questionable move. If we needed them in past years, why is we do not need any of them today?