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Re: Car Free City [off-list]

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  • Chris Bradshaw
    [off-list] Chris, 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 2002
      [off-list]

      Chris,

      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

      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
      > >did.
      >
      > 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
      > me.
      >
      >
      > > 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
      > >them.
      >
      > 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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