Decoder Ring

Why You Can’t Find a Damn Parking Spot

Parking is a mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. We can get ourselves out of it.


Episode Notes

Parking is one of the great paradoxes of American life. On the one hand, we have paved an ungodly amount of land to park our cars. On the other, it seems like it’s never enough.

Slate’s Henry Grabar has spent the last few years investigating how our pathological need for car storage determines the look, feel, and function of the places we live. It turns out our quest for parking has made some of our biggest problems worse.

In this episode, we’re going to hunt for parking, from the mean streets of Brooklyn to the sandy lots of Florida. We’ll explore how parking has quietly damaged the American landscape—and see what might fix it.

This episode was written by Henry Grabar, author of Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World. It was edited by Willa Paskin, who produces Decoder Ring with Katie Shepherd. We had extra production from Patrick Fort and editing help from Joel Meyer. Derek John is Slate’s executive producer of narrative podcasts. Merritt Jacob is our senior technical director.

Thank you to: Jane Wilberding, Rachel Weinberger, Donald Shoup, Andrés Duany, Robert Davis, Micah Davis, Christy Milliken, Fletcher Isacks, Victor Benhamou, and Nina Pareja.

If you have any cultural mysteries you want us to decode, you can email us at

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Decoder Ring is now available on YouTube. Listen here:


About the Show

In each episode, host Willa Paskin takes a cultural question, object, or habit; examines its history; and tries to figure out what it means and why it matters.

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