The International Parking Institute (IPI) Awards of Excellence winners show what happens when the need to stash vehicles while people are shopping, eating, and playing is considered an asset instead of a liability.

The IPI announced the seven winners of the 2015 'Best Places to Park' awards program, selected by an independent jury of judges from architecture firms, parking corporations, and city/airport/university officials.

"The seven winners of the International Parking Institute 2015 Awards of Excellence may vary significantly in use and appearance, but they collectively symbolize a new way of thinking about parking," says Shawn Conrad, CAE, executive director of IPI, the world's largest parking association.

Here's a brief breakdown of the award-winners:

Top Award for Architectural Achievement: Oklahoma City Arts District Garage - Oklahoma City, Okla.

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Best Design of a Parking Facility with Fewer than 800 Spaces: Philadelphia Zoo Centennial District Intermodal Facility - Philadelphia, Pa.

Best Design of a Parking Facility with More than 800 Spaces: American River College Parking Structure - Sacramento, Calif.

For more information about each of the projects above, and to see the other four award winners, read IPI's press release >>