Carefree Cities: A Solution to Cars in Urban Transport

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J.H. Crawford, author of Carefree Cities, believes he has a practical solution to the urban problems presented by cars, which he describes as technology that’s out of control. Cars cause air pollution, isolate people, kill street life, and encourage sprawl, but Crawford has a solution. To save energy, preserve the environment, and help people reclaim their quality of life, he suggests that urban citizens cluster closer together, walk, and develop more efficient public transport... While acknowledging that public transportation is a generally unpleasant--not to mention slow—way of getting around, Crawford notes that densely-populated neighborhoods are a prerequisite for quick mobility and economical public transport, and they can also offer a superior quality of life.

Siting Venice, Italy as the uber-example, which he says is the largest densely packed population that really likes were they live but uses virtually no cars, he suggests global cities follow the Venetian example, making cities walkable and clustering necessities like work, play, and shopping in easy-to-get-to centralities.

Despite the fact that we’ve seen and smelled how nasty Venice’s canals are when dredged, we like where Crawford’s going with this, and think he has a point.

Interestingly, the New Yorker ran a piece on a similar topic in their Oct. 18 issue, in which writer David Owen argues that New York City, despite its reputation as a greedy dirtbag, is actually one of the greenest city’s going. Sounds bizarre right? Well, not really when you consider that more than 80% of all New Yorkers walk or take public transport to work and use a miniscule amount of gas compared to the average American. Now you can see why Owen argues that the world needs more cities like New York. Surely Crawford would agree.

Of course, we’ve crossed the street behind the MTA bus, and it don’t smell much better than Venice’s canals. Still, we’re glad these two have put in their two cents. Thanks to MetaEfficient. Carefree Cities $17.95 softcover, $29.95 hardcover ::Carefree Cities