Parking lots take up a lot of space in our towns and cities – could they be put to better use while still remaining functional? That's the thinking behind a new project by British architecture firm ZED Factory. Its ZED Pod is a small solar-powered home raised on stilts that would be installed in parking lots to create new sustainable communities.

The prefabricated ZED Pod – or Zero (fossil) Energy Development Pod – would be installed in multiple units on raised structures in single-story car parks, park-and-rides, and the like. The homes would feature a small shared community space and an additional raised amenity area suitable for use as an allotment, for example.

Though we're still awaiting confirmation from ZED Factory concerning their actual size, the interior of the two story homes look very small. The downstairs area contains a lounge/dining space, kitchen and bathroom, while the bedroom and office area are upstairs.

Sustainable tech slated for the ZED Pod includes solar panels, heat recovery ventilation systems, a green roof, composting toilet, and grey water recycling. In addition, ZED Factory reports that excess juice from the solar panels could be used to charge electric vehicles. A typical ZED Pod community could also be erected within a week and, if required, later relocated without too much trouble.

According to the Daily Mail, each ZED Pod would cost around £60,000 (US$85,931) to install and fetch around £750 ($1,074) per month in rent (including bills). It's difficult to judge how good value for money this would be without knowing exactly where they would be located.

There are some obvious concerns too. The coming and going of drivers could drive occupants to distraction, while so many nearby cars belching out pollution would also be a health concern. In addition, you wouldn't want kids or pets running around a busy car park.

There's also the issue of desirability: the ZED Pod is pitched as a starter home for young professional types, but would such people who have enough money in their pockets to live elsewhere really choose to live in a car park? Perhaps we'll soon find out. The Daily Mail also reports that Oxford Council is currently considering a pilot scheme.

Source: ZED Factory

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