Can you imagine a world without cars? No honking horns, snarled traffic, and no cloying pollution. J.H. Crawford, author of Carfree Cities, not only asks us to consider this possibility, but he outlines in his book the steps to turn the carfree dream into a reality. “Venice, Italy is certainly the best advertisement for carfree cities that I have ever seen,” explains Crawford.
North America has created what Carfree Cities describes as an automobile slum. A place where the once beautiful landscapes have been re-configured, bastardized even, to accommodate a car-dependent society. The result, as we know, is far from pretty. “We created an everyday environment that is ecologically catastrophic, economically futureless, socially poisonous and spiritually degrading,” writes foreword author James Howard Kunstler.
With climbing oil price, diminishing sources of fossil fuels, and climate change on everybody’s mind – Carfree Cities offers a solution to our automobile-congested world.
However, it does not have to be this way. Even though Carfree Cities is still a bit ahead of its time in its entirety– the practical, well-thought out arguments, and concrete examples of how to actually implement a carefree city, are finally ready to have their time in the sun. With climbing oil price, diminishing sources of fossil fuels, and climate change on everybody’s mind – Carfree Cities offers a solution to our automobile-congested world.
Let’s be clear though, J.H. Crawford is not advocating for the abolishment of the automobile, rather he is suggesting that life would be a whole lot better with the removal of cars from cities. He argues that creating a more densely populated carfree city will restore community, reduce pollution, regain quiet in homes and offices, encourage children to play in the streets, and restore health and well-being. “The required density increases are by no means extreme; densities that are still common in European city centers are entirely sufficient,” he explains.
In place of the cars, he suggests that a good quality rapid transit system would meet the needs of the inhabitants of the city. In order for the system to work it needs to be functional, fast, convenient, relatively cost effective, safe and clean. Carfree Cities shows that it can be done and has been done. The main barriers to having carfree cities and good public transit are political will and vision.
Carfree Cities is a must read for city planners, mayors and anyone who has any influence over the future of our cities.
Carfree Cities is divided into three parts. Part I includes a brief history of the introduction of the automobile to North America and how it quickly befouled the land, information on how some carfree or car-lite cities are managing to flourish, and an overview of some alternative transport options. Part II gives design references on how carfree cities can be created and what they may look like. Part III offers information about how to go about implementing carfree cities in the real world.
Carfree Cities is an important contribution to environmental discourse. A must read for city planners, mayors and anyone who has any influence over the future of our cities.
Order this book on Amazon.com Carfree Cities
Publisher: Utrecht International Books