Car-free Cities entry in Wikipedia - may need your help
- Hello everyone,
I would propose that this discussion be only on the carfree_cities list from now on.
That way the lists remain distinct. It's also our normal policy is to have practical project
discussions on carfree_network, and send theoretical discussions to carfree_cities.
Excuse the very long post, but it's my last on this subject (on the carfree_network list).
NOTE: By going to www.worldcarfree.net/listservs/, people can find out how to
subscribe to the digest version of carfree_network (means all posts will be combined
into one message per day), as well as either version of carfree_cities.
Eric Britton wrote:
> The main point that I can see coming out here is Lloyd�s idea of a doubleentry: car-free vs. car-lite. Since I am myself a lite guy � lots fewer cars
in our city with lots less negative impacts � this has some attraction for
me. But then on the other hand, I wonder if wiki-wise we might be stretching
things a bit thin. To be the devil�s advocate: just because we see this
distinction and find it important, it may not have much resonance for most
of the people who pop into the WP for help.
I think it's likely that people will hear about the carfree movement because we are
using that term in the press, etc., and so they might go to Wikipedia to find out more
about it. Or they could go to www.worldcarfree.net/about_us/ and get the definition
Also, I think there's a fundamental misconception that we're just talking about "few
cars" versus "no cars" -- implying that the "no cars" position is simply a stricter version
of the former. This isn't necessarily the case, because the urban form proposed by the
two can be fundamentally different.
To make this absolutely clear, see the map at of Sfax, Tunisia at
www.worldcarfree.net/conference/sfax-proposal.php. There you see two areas of
equal size. One is carfree and the other not. But the street pattern of each is totally
different. The carfree area is a fine-grained pedestrian environment that provides for
up-close interaction involving literally all the senses. There is no room for cars -- or if a
few might fit here and there they would seriously detract from the atmosphere (and
the space available for interaction) if they were allowed.
The car-dominated area is a typical grid pattern. Those proposing "car-lite" would look
at the area and be likely to find various ways to reduce car use -- but they would leave
the urban form as they found it. Those proposing "carfree" would be likely to modify
the urban form in order to intensify the use of the space (creating more "places" within
the same geographic area). This increases liveliness, level of interest, and the number
of destinations reachable within a short walk. For example: we might build
passageways through buildings, divide wide streets into narrower streets by placing
kiosks or buildings or other destinations in the middle, convert courtyards into outdoor
cafes or playgrounds, etc. So I see this as a fundamentally different approach to "car-
lite." And it is much more in tune with the David Engwicht's often-cited definition of a
city: "an invention to maximise exchange and to minimise travel." (It is simply
impossible to simultaneously maximise exchange and devote 10-60% of the urban
surface to roads, parking lots and other infrastructure that provides little if any social
exchange space. Nor is it possible to minimise travel while simultaneously
accommodating the automobile or other high-speed, space-intensive transportation
> Also bear in mind, that the present entry was at one time marked fordeletion and it was only the forceful entry of Randy Ghent into the
dialogue, along with his subsequent adjustments of the text, that served to
keep it there.
I'm not sure what was forceful about it. I just went to that page today for the first time
and added a comment on the discussion page. I didn't modify the actual definition
Here are a couple of sticking points that I am not yet quite
1. Are we correct to call this a �movement�? Is there a better word?
For example for the entry on sustainable transportation that I have been
working on with a number of you helping, we call it just that: ST all by
itself, no movement or anything else. I think that works for us there, but
what about here?
I think "movement" is the best way to describe those promoting carfree solutions.
Small movement maybe, but still a movement -- one which is set to grow.
2. (Actually if you go to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_Transportation_Movement (an earlier
entry) you will see that it now segues into
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_transportation, which makes sense
I think that both "alternative transportation" and "sustainable transportation" are not
what carfree is all about. Both terms seem to reinforce the misconception that I
described above. Again, we're talking about minimising travel and maximising
exchange (interaction), not just making transportation more sustainable. The following
is from my recent article "Top Ten Myths About the Carfree Movement" (people can
skip this part if they know this already):
Myth 10: It�s All About Sustainable Transportation
Many people, when introduced to the carfree issue, might often see it as a theme
neatly contained within the broader field of transportation. However, what the
movement seeks to do could better be described as minimising the role of
transportation in society and replacing it with interaction, exchanging mobility for
That is, we would like to have less obligatory transportation and more time and
space freed up for the exchange of information, ideas, goods, services, skills,
experience and culture. Human settlements were built to enable these types of
exchange, and their urban form reflected this priority until recent history. Streets were
not race tracks (what we call �busy streets�) or boring dead zones (�quiet streets�), but
places to talk and play, buy and sell, laugh and cry.
Walk out the front door of your home and imagine the streetscape as you�d want it
if you had to spend the rest of your life in that very spot. Would it be a stream of
vehicular traffic or a lively people-oriented space with lots to see and do?
Successful communication of this message (a focus on quality of life issues) could
result in much greater public participation in the carfree movement. Being �carfree� is
for everyone � men, women, and children. This would represent a shift from technical
discussions of �modal shift� to practical, creative matters of how we want our road
space to look and what we want it to be used for.
In describing this movement, the adjective �sustainable� is often placed in front of the
word �transport� or �transportation.� But the crux of the issue is not so much what can
be sustained, as what should be sustained. After all, some practices that can be
sustained shouldn�t be. Torture, war, greed... While we could argue about whether
mass automobile use can be sustained (and for how long), the carfree movement
above all believes that it�s not desirable, and should not be sustained.
3. What do you think? Does that bring us to �Car Free Cities� as a
better title for the entry?
No, I think we still need an entry for "carfree movement" -- or the main entry could be
"carfree" and then "carfree movement" would be a sub-set of that. It's not just about
carfree cities. And we already have a definition for the movement (at
4. Which still leaves us with Lloyd�s idea of a �car lite� entry,
including all his caveats. Hmm.
Yes, a "car-lite" entry is needed too.
Randall Ghent, Co-Director
WORLD CARFREE NETWORK
Kratka 26, 100 00 Prague 10, Czech Republic
tel: +(420) 274-810-849 - fax: +(420) 274-772-017
<info@...> - <http://www.worldcarfree.net>
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