Like most folks I spend more time than I like going parking spot to parking spot. Most lots are huge heat-sinks with few trees, loads of asphalt, and curb and gutter meant to swiftly move the dirty water through underground drains to a stream as quickly as possible. While it still has a large number of surface parking lots, the NCSU Centennial Campus seems to have been fairly well planned with a balance of landscaped and natural areas to soften the impact of the asphalt and concrete and to help mediate the runoff. These lots along Centennial Blvd. were recently retrofitted to allow the water to flow into gardens in the center of the lots. To me any situation where you can accomplish more than one goal with a design element makes for a better experience. Here the run-off waters the garden, the garden absorbs the water instead of it being piped away (there are overflow drains), and the parking lot looks and feels better.
The gardens look to be planted with native species that can tolerate wet and dry conditions.