Re: Car Free City [off-list]
Good to see your participation on this list. Maybe we should get a
car-free caucus in the Green Party of Canada.
Despite my preference to work _in situ_, I am willing to be part of your
proposed list, not just to be part of a discussion on the _form_ and
_design_ of such a place, but because, as an early retiree, my wife and
I are discussing possible relocation to a place with a great climate and
many fewer cars (and more localize institutions).
Chris Holt wrote:
> > First, is it easier to build a car-free place from scratch, or to
> >find a good "car-lite" place and congregate to improve it (like
> >Arcata CA)?
> I think the answer here would be the adaptation of an existing
> "car-lite" place. My first question would be, does such an animal
> exist? In starting a city from scratch, there are (as you mentioned)
> obstacles that we haven't even considered yet. The issue of local
> governance and the creation of our own municipality. The prospect of
> it being big enough to create a significant greenbelt that inhibits
> the free-loaders from enjoying a car-free space then driving home to
> their carburbs. The magnatude here is almost mind-blowing. If the
> option of adaptation were to be chosen, there would be (for better or
> worse) existing infrastructure in place, existing commercial, retail,
> educational and institutional oppourtunities, existing governance etc.
> Plus, it is entirely easier just to pick up and move in. Whether or
> not we would be able to constitute enough of a mass to enable change
> is another story.
> > Second, if one were to start one from scratch (a common practice up
> >to 100 years ago, requiring a skill our generation(s) might have
> >lost), would one start with considering climate and geography first,
> >or doing a preference poll among the candidate inhabitants (most in
> >this discussion seem to be fellow Canadians), or should we discuss
> >the deep structure of a city that needs no cars, trucks, or even huge
> >surface buses?
> If we are going to the extent of building a new city, I think we
> should aim for as close to perfection (location-wise) as possible.
> I'm not a utopian, so I don't expect the inhabitants to be perfect,
> but by chosing the ideal location, the cards would be stacked more in
> our favour. Of course, this would be by consensus.
> > Third, if we were successful, would we not have simply performed the
> > car-zonked proponents a service, like the Pied Piper, ensuring that
> >the most visionary people on urban reform are led into the wilderness
> >to fight over all matters of detail over what "cityness" really is?
> >And wouldn't that mean we abandon the billions of people who only
> >think they want to eat, sleep, and drink cars, as if there are only
> >two kinds of people: those who have cars, and those who wish they
> Like I mentioned an a previous post, we are not getting very far
> without the "critical mass" of visionary people working together.
> With our dispersed placement across the globe, we can only do so much.
> For us to institute any significant change, we must do it together
> and show the rest of the world what it would look like. A North
> American Gaviotas, if you will. Besides, I don't think my city will
> slip any quicker into the vomit that is auto-stagnation if they lost
> > For me, I would prefer the energy went into thinking about how the
> >good things in cities could be ensured without cars, etc, rather than
> >trying to go off on our own. The nineteenth century had thousands of
> >these utopian communities; and the 1960/70s had a minor resurgence of
> I find that most of my time is spent trying to convince people
> (unsuccessfully) that what we're talking about here is entirely
> plausable. They cannot even come close to envisioning a life without
> cars. I would fear, in this case, that we would spend altogether too
> much time, energy and resources trying to convince people that this
> would not negetively affect their quality of life. This time and
> energy could be put to much better service in actually "doing", than
> talking. Plus, is it just me or is everyone else getting tired of
> just "talking" and not "doing". If we found a place that was
> open-minded to what we are proposing, I'll be there in a heartbeat.
> I'm just not going to hold my breathe waiting for such a place.
> Enjoying just thinking about the possibilities,
> Chris Holt
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