Fascinating backup to what I'm sure many of us feel. That Car Free is
about much more than reducing CO2 or traffic deaths. Its about the
very enjoyment of life and our sanity.
On your question as to whether the high-density shopping area
(Copenhagen's Strøget in your example) or the smaller scale
city/village (Venice in Joel's example) is the most probable Car Free
locale/modality, the probably answer would be both. That each modality
fits some people and some places. Do we need to choose?
And then the question, can a low density sprawl (Silicon Valley for
instance) - function Car Free? Or is that just impossible?
BTW, Vienna has a wonderful Car Free downtown. On NYE 800,000 people
celebrated there. Really great! On the other hand, I would like to see
us expand our vision and hopefulness for Car Free beyond these
shopping areas. Sure one step at a time. But I'd like to see a vision
for an entire area (village, city, whatever) - not just the prime
shopping district - to become, or approach, Car Free.
--- In email@example.com
, Christopher Miller
> An article in the Boston Globe about researchers' studies that show
> negative effects of urban vs natural environments on cognitive
> functioning. The general assumption is that urban environment = the
> current car-centric urban milieu we all know and love (so little -- I
> wonder why...). Parts of the article seem to point to the advantages
> of a carfree urban environment though I think, from what I am able to
> glean from the article, that it would actually be useful for research
> to be done (or cited if it already has been done) that compares the
> two extremes with car-free urban environments including fully
> pedestrianised areas in large cities such as Copenhagen's Strøget
> shopping street, and the kind of thing Joel has been arguing we should
> move toward, namely more human-scaled environments such as those found
> in Venice and many other smaller European and other Old World cities.
> Since the article is a popularising overview of research, it glosses
> over important questions about the precise factors (implied in the
> paragraph above) that contribute to strengthening or weakening of
> cognitive abilities: human density per se as opposed to crowding on
> sidewalks combined with roads crowded with roaring and speeding cars;
> oversized versus human-scaled buildings and street spaces; degree of
> planting/greenery versus quality; absence of overall natural stimuli
> versus natural stimuli for all the senses (and so on...). I wonder
> what thoughts people here might have for an experimental paradigm that
> would produce more solid and interesting results?
> How the city hurts your brain
> ...And what you can do about it
> By Jonah Lehrer
> January 2, 2009
> Email|Print|Single Page|Yahoo! Buzz|ShareThisText size +
> THE CITY HAS always been an engine of intellectual life, from the 18th-