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6368RE: [carfree_cities] Re: Car-free cities and jobs

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  • Patrick McDonough
    Oct 22, 2003
      I've been intrigued by all the jobs discussions here. For the most part, in
      the U.S., anyway- carfree developments (unless they are on a grand scale and
      accommodate over say, 5000 people, which I assume they will not for quite
      some time) will still depend on those with car-oriented lifestyles to come
      and purchase goods and services for economic survival.

      In America it is the rare store outside of cities like Boston, New York,
      Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco that is supported mostly by local
      on-foot or transit-driven patronage.

      Any effects we see here will be on a micro-level.

      Patrick McDonough

      -----Original Message-----
      From: dearleb [mailto:dearleb@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2003 11:42 PM
      To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [carfree_cities] Re: Car-free cities and jobs


      If the topic is converting all or most of western civilation to auto- free
      status, a far-fetched concept, then yes there would be huge
      upheavals in economic structure, the mere hint of which would arouse
      mighty political opposition to the concept. Assuming instead we are
      speaking only of making certain limited areas carfree, in keeping
      with the limited demand for such a thing, then only the economic
      structure of those areas would be affected.
      There would be substantially more employment in retailing and
      distribution than in an auto-centric environment, as the economic
      efficiencies of big-box stores and big vehicles to distribute goods
      would be exchanged for small-scale shops close enough to consumers.
      This would result, as it does in such places as Japan, in sharply
      higher prices to the consumer, but also, as in Japan, in higher
      employment levels than would exist in an auto-centric environment.
      This higher cost may be offset for some by no longer needing to own a
      vehicle, but many denizens of a car-free city would still need to
      keep a car for interface with the auto-centric world beyond the
      carfree town.
      Attracting employment to such a place is another question - most
      likely hefty incentives would be needed for some time to encourage
      employers and start-up enterprises to such an environment.

      --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "lockhughes" <felixkc123@h...>
      wrote:
      > Hello Justin and Car Free folks
      >
      > --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "amqx" <amqx@y...> wrote:
      > > Let me start by saying that I strongly support the idea of car-
      free
      > > cities. It fits perfectly with my philosophy that society is
      based
      > on
      > > human interaction.
      > >
      > > However, I was discussing it with a friend of mine, and he
      brought
      > up
      > > an interesting issue. Eliminating cars would leave countless
      people
      > > unemployed. Would car-free cities create any new jobs that could
      > > replace them, such as train and bus building?
      > > --Justin
      >
      > I actually spent some time recently reading up on a car-free
      > (pretty much) city of 500,000+ people.
      >
      > Yongkang in eastern Zhejiang province. Neighbouring Yiwu City is
      > among China's 100 richest counties (cities), Dongyang City,
      Yongkang
      > City, and Wucheng District are among province's most well-off
      > counties (cities).
      >
      > Yongkang has a long history as a center for tool and machinery
      > production. In the late 1990's, *somebody* made the decision that
      > Yongkang would also be a center for the manufacture of small two
      and
      > three wheeled vehicles, gas and electric, for export. These are
      kick
      > scooters and bicycles and larger Vespa-style machines with power or
      > power-assist.
      >
      > Today, Yongkang has over 100 factories making component parts
      and
      > asembling and selling these little machines. Because the different
      > companies all share most of the same parts, there are perhaps a few
      > dozen "flavours", but mostly they all look very similar in
      appearance
      > and specifications.
      >
      > Collectively these companies all in and around Yongkang
      comprise
      > several millions of square feet of factory space presently shipping
      > millions of scooters and bicycles overseas annually.
      >
      > Product features and quality are improving each year, but the
      > Yongkang vehicles started out badly and have a reputation for
      uneven
      > quality and support to overcome now... Most of these companies
      that
      > are assembling and selling these vehicles are also still engaged in
      > their traditional products like wire brushes and power tools, patio
      > furniture, etc.
      >
      > Yongkang is also China's amputation capital, as their
      production
      > of all manner of housewares and tools etc etc involves heavy
      > machinery and unskilled labour, inexperience, etc.
      >
      > This at least comprises a lot of employment in this car-free
      > city. That they are producing personal vehicles (cars?) is perhaps
      > incongruous... the good(?) news is, the citizens of Yongkang don't
      > actually use these vehicles themselves. They know the product is
      > unadequate, and almost the entire Yongkang output of vehicles goes
      to
      > export. There are 100's of ads for these vehicles on eBay right
      > now.
      >
      > Is there room in a car-free city for bicycles and other little
      > electric vehicles? Personal electric vehicles typically have
      motors
      > rated around 500 watts - compared to your coffee-maker which is
      > likely rated at over 1,000 watts. A small car might have a power
      > measured in watts of perhaps 60,000 watts and from there the cars
      go
      > up in power... Humans generate 100-200 watts pedaling their bikes.
      >
      > The USA recently legalized power-assisted bicycles up to 750
      > watts (as not subject to State motorized vehicle codes.)
      >
      > Clearly these little vehicles are not an all-weather, all-
      > season solution for many parts of the world, but in many other
      parts,
      > and for many people, they can be.
      >
      > Operating and "fuel" costs for these vehicles can work out to
      a
      > penny or a few per passenger mile. AFAIK, our Public Transit here
      > could manufacture these things locally and give `em away to transit
      > users, and they would reduce their operating deficit significantly
      to
      > the extent that the little vehicles could replace the larger ones
      for
      > short urban trips.
      >
      > With personal little electric vehicles, there are no more
      empty
      > seats or driver expenses. They plug in anywhere, so you don't need
      > fueling stations. They don't need vast paved parking lots. The
      > roadways would suddenly develop a huge increase in existing
      capacity
      > (as the size of the vehicles shrink.)
      >
      > So, anyway Justin, in answer to your question, I can see
      lots
      > of employment locally in transportation, without there
      being "cars"...
      >
      > Might all depend on your definition of "car-free".
      Personally,
      > I prefer a bike or a scooter to a bus or subway anyday. What we
      > *really* need in all of this is shorter distances and less travel!!!
      >
      > Lock


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