Modeling the City? Difficulties in Modeling Parking Management in France in the 1950s and 1960s

Special Report
By Sébastien Gardon

This article studies the logics of institutionalization present in reflections on the subject of parking in France during the 1950s and 1960s, and which formed part of a national context of the production of urban surveys overseen by civil engineers. However, unlike the models of traffic flow widely developed during the same period, the expert forms developed in France around the provision of parking could not yet envisage a modelling capacity of needs in terms of parking. Modelling attempts were instead dismissed by experts who preferred the collection of data that came with surveys. Thus, the construction of car parks in cities essentially followed opportunist logics, as much in terms of political display as in terms of their location or financing.

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