garages solve issues. or do they?

I often become frustrated when coming across large parking lots in shopping centers. This is especially true if the parking lots are empty for the most part and especially filled with big box stores. I could only imagine a better use of all that open space; farmers markets, children’s playgrounds, pedestrian malls, public art spaces, creative neighborhood spaces, and just green spaces in general. The existence of garages are convenient, a little more environmentally friendly, and more aesthetically appealing. Though, sustaining a parking garage does not come cheap, the overall use of parking garages may be a better option than large parking lots.

Some countries have used the design of garages to include greenery. If we could use the same number of spots of a parking lot in a parking garage, do users prefer garages over parking lots?

Some questions come to mind while speaking about the difference between parking lots and garages; What is it about parking lots that drivers prefer, if any? Are shopping centers with garages more appealing? Are they more successful environmentally?