Thursday, 3 July 2008

Carfree Times

Joel Crawford has a new issue of his occasional online mag Carfree Times.

In addition to the usual nice pictures of carfree cities (above: Lagos, Portugal), there is a report on the sad failure of a plan for road pricing in New York. In other and better news from the USA, higher fuel prices are putting the brakes on suburban sprawl: the property prices that are NOT falling, or not nearly so much, are those that aren't 40 miles from work.

There is also an interview with leading traffic scientist, Professor Hermann Knoflacher, entitled Cars Are Driving Us Nuts:

The car is like a virus that beds in your brain and totally subverts behaviour, values, and perception. A normal person would call our present living space completely insane. (.....)

Urban planning requires cars to be as close as possible to all of our social activities. That's how you destroy the natural habitat, public transit, local supply, and eventually the social network that humans have established in millennia.

However, the good news is that the looming energy crisis may come to our rescue.


Anonymous said...

Trams can be a great partial answer - mostly in cities.

Even here, in sunny Belper, the supermarket is on the edge of town (the opposite edge to where we live, if we live on the edge at all. Still need the car to bring the weekly shop back home.

I suppose a pony and trap might be OK, but the garden's not big enough for both the dog an a horse. Horse manure would be great for the tomatoes though!

peezedtee said...

No, I don't think a return to horses and carts would be a good idea. Someone would have to clear up all the excrement from the streets.

For shopping I have one of those bags on wheels, and go twice a week instead of once. Or you could always get a bicycle with a trailer.

The deeper question, of course is: WHY is the supermarket on the edge of your town? And the answer no doubt is, because it is simply assumed that everyone has a motorcar.

This of course becomes self-fulfilling: if everyone in Belper didn't have a car in the first place, they do now, because of where the supermarket is. Thus the spiral of decline in which the motorcar gradually destroys our towns, our communities and ultimately our civilisation.