25 excellent reasons why you never, ever want to expand infrastructure capacity, build more roads, facilitate more parking, etc., in your city

car-spiral

Think of this as an Executive Summary in a single page to identify and clarify policy for a core element of a very complex urban system of many parts and linkages. In fact, the very one we are attempting to deal with here:  the impacts of the  many too many cars syndrome. But what is we treat this as a step in a useful direction.

Source: The UK Sustainable Development Commission’s report Fairness in a Car-Dependent Society. As quoted in  Bruce McVean’s The New City lecture given on 11th February 2013 at Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture, and available here as an Op-Ed piece “The automobile was never an appropriate technology for [cities]. As a form of mass transit for the world, it is a disaster.” – https://goo.gl/it9wNv

 

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Thinking: 1, 2, 3 (From the editor)

Since this is supposed to be a thinkpiece, what happens when we work our way through the various linkages and start to ask ourselves: what if anything is missing, and what should not be there? To these eyes the only possible candidate for elimination is the second reference to “Adverse Health impacts” — but working one’s ways through the linkages, it seems to have its place there.

When we recast this chart, as we definitely shall, here are several candidates for a mild expansion.  Among them:

  1. – Let’s title it, “Increased car use” – because that’s the issue, not ownership. Right?
  2. Sprawl development
  3. “Decline in public transport services”
  4. “Increased distance/time in transit”
  5. Socially divisive”
  6. “Antisocial behaviour”
  7. Appropriates public spaces from social and health uses
  8. Emptying out of countryside”

Each of us will have our own candidates for this revised version which we would very much like to hear from you. We need to be very creative in this and open it up to views from all sides.

Here is an example of a creative and challenging set of comment on one issue: point 8 above, Emptying out of the countryside

READER COMMENTS:

FROM CHANDRA VIKASH , a reader from Ghaziabad India who has a strong career interest in  rural sustainability, who notes concerning :

[This excessive dependence on cars (for those that have them) also has strong impacts on emptying out]  villages, or the countryside as the West calls it.

MODERATOR COMMENT:  Thanks Chandra. Is this because increased car use, which provides mobility for some, but not for all, has the impact of “emptying out” villages and even smaller towns of their historic commercial and service functions? Thus depleting the countryside? Is that what you have in mind here? If so, any thoughts of how can we work this into the very useful Mind map diagram?

CHANDRA VIKASH POSTS:
Precisely, as you so well articulate. This is coupled with fiat money capitalism which shifts the locus of influence over the resources from the villages and the natural production sites to the cities thru’ the highly manipulated, biased and prejudiced banking system to bleed the people of villages and small towns of their produce and deplete their resources and thus forcing them into slavery or salary, which is nothing but disguised slavery.

MODERATOR:

Wow. Post-Marxist in-your-face language. But hey, I am an economist. An atheist economist at that, meaning that I make a huge attempt to stick to the issues. So what is my reaction to his “strong” language?

Accurate from delicately chosen word to delicately chosen word. Let’s pick out his last phrase as just one example of this non-partisan lucidity. Suppose I as a non-Marxist were to say “the grinding reality of the working poor”. In my book it really means pretty much the same thing, but it may be less offensive to delicate spirits. But the truth is there, staring us stupidly in the face.

MS. CARROLL KELLEY:
The automobile is the BEST invention for personal FREEDOM ever . The problem for GOVERNMENTS is that people don’t need them . Every GOVERNMENT wants POWER . POWER controls means less PERSONAL FREEDOM. . Get rid of GOVERNMENTS if you want to see innovation in transportation

MODERATOR:

Thank you Carroll: We have been waiting for this:the strong voice of REASON. And thank you too Ayn Rand.

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Related reading from World Streets:

Op-Ed:“The automobile was never an appropriate technology for [cities]. As a form of mass transit for the world, it is a disaster.”

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Editor:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as a development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist and international sustainability activist who has lived and worked in Paris since 1969. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport - https://worldstreets.wordpress.com . | Britton online: https://goo.gl/9CJXTh

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6 thoughts on “25 excellent reasons why you never, ever want to expand infrastructure capacity, build more roads, facilitate more parking, etc., in your city

  1. Add decline in public transport, and suburban sprawl. Adverse health impacts is there twice so this makes it 26 reasons. If you number them I’ll list the ones linked by arrows to the above two.

    Reply
    • Wonderful. But I have a technical problem here and that is that I am not (yet) fully up to speed on mindmapping, so as to be able to make the changes (which I much appreciate) easily. I hope to work on it and thanks again for those excellent points.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: What If Climate Hawks Fought Dirty Highways Like They Fight Dirty Energy? | Streetsblog.net

  3. Actually it’s increased use(VMT) you object to really. How about a static VMT?
    Who holds the paperwork on the vehicle.is irrelevant. Leasing OK?

    Reply
    • (To repeat) I have a problem here and that is that I am not (yet) fully up to speed on mindmapping, so as to be able to make the changes (which I much appreciate) easily. I hope to work on it and thanks again for those excellent points.

      Reply
  4. Further to my last comment, the quoted report “Fairness in a Car Dependent Society has its own network on page 18 which covers the 2 issues I mentioned, so all we need to do is to amalgamate this network with Eric’s.

    Reply

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