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10968Re: [carfree_cities] Re:Guardian article on Copenhagenize blog and "copenhagenizing" cities

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  • Christopher Miller
    Jun 28, 2008
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      I think this is probably a result of how many people (and sadly this
      is also true of many journalists, who should be paying more attention
      to historical context) seem to judge everything in terms of what we
      are habituated to in our own times, i.e., in this case, a very car-
      centric transportation economy. You see this so often in reactions by
      the average "Joe" or "Jane" to media reports of even the most timid
      steps to (re-)introduce an emphasis on streetcars, trains and bicycles
      and try to edge away from the overwhelming hegemony of the automobile:
      for so many people, it is unimaginable that there could be any other
      way to move around. This leads to disparaging comments we often see by
      some politicians, in editorials, in letters to the editor, or in radio
      or online opinion forums, about tramways being quaint 19th century
      technology unfit for our times, or bicycles being impossible as a
      means of getting anywhere or doing anything serious (and even being
      "unprofessional", as I have seen in more than one comment). Even the
      Treehugger blog,which you might think has its priorities straight, is
      hopelessly enamored with the idea of the "green car", i.e. anything,
      but any alternative fuel or power source, please please please!!! to
      let us keep on driving everywhere.

      Christopher Miller
      Montreal QC Canada


      On 28-Jun-08, at 6:28 PM, Karen Sandness wrote:

      > Copenhagen's cycling culture was "invented" in the last 25 years?
      > How, then, to explain the scene in The Counterfeit Traitor, a movie of
      > the early 1960s that takes place during World War II, in which
      > Copenhagen cyclists on the spur of the moment help William Holden
      > escape the Germans by filling the street with two-wheeled traffic and
      > blocking the pursuers?
      > Europe has always seemed more bicycle-friendly than the U.S. Look at
      > old British films or period pieces such as The Long Day Closes: lots
      > of bikes. Even as a child in the late 1950s, I heard a woman who had
      > taken a bicycle trip through Europe give a presentation at my church's
      > annual dinner and tell of the network of youth hostels that served
      > non-
      > automotive travelers.
      > Perhaps it is more accurate to say that Europe temporarily lost its
      > cycling culture in a brief infatuation with the car and is recovering
      > from that bit of madness as their environmental and social
      > consciousness develops.
      > In transit,
      > Karen Sandness

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