you're thinking of dense urban centers, like midtown Manhattan. Think more about what horizontally sprawling cities look like. or suburbs, for that matter. in the suburb I grew up in there was a 3 to 1 ratio of parking lot to buildings in all of the major shopping centers and housing complexes.
in addition to that building was basically restricted only to areas that were suitable to construct huge parking lots on. i.e. it had to be very flat, and have easy access to the large highways nearby.
the way we build our cities has been utterly warped and distorted by cars being much too cheap.