This article reconstructs the history of underground parking in the Dutch city of Maastricht by connecting the model of obduracy (i.e., "resistance to change") with the concept of upscaling, which offers new insights in historic urban transitions. We discuss how the decision-making process about the building of the first underground parking garage (Vrijthof) in the late 1960s was a starting point of a growing obduracy of the urban practice of car use and parking in the inner city of Maastricht. We argue that this obduracy can be explained by the growing interconnections between the cultural meanings of historic squares and urban car use, expertise of urban planners, traffic experts and parking operators, parking and traffic policies and regulations, and underground parking infrastructures. Ironically, the expansion of underground parking in Maastricht can be seen as a pivotal part of the successful upscaling and increasing obduracy of car mobility in this town, but at the same time significantly affects the upscaling of local sustainable mobility innovations forty years later and beyond.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0096144220909068
Pages (from-to)1225-1250
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • CITY
  • obduracy
  • parking history
  • sustainable mobility
  • upscaling
  • urban mobility history


Dive into the research topics of 'Upscaling, obduracy and underground parking in Maastricht (1965-present): is there a way out?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this