You see a lot more cars in the outskirts and in smaller cities (like Kyoto) where they haven't hit critical mass, or there has been mismanagement of the transit infrastructure.
What version of Tokyo have you been to? Cars are everywhere in Tokyo. A quarter of commuters drive alone.
That's really low compared to NA where even in a metro area I'd guess it's at least 50%.
Your point was that "cars are almost non-existent in Tokyo and Osaka", which hardly is supported by the fact that 25% of commuters drive.
For example, I live in Seattle, city with one of the worse traffic situations in the country. However, if you stroll on most of the surface streets in downtown, you'll never notice that. Most congestion in the metro occurs on the major freeways that allow one to travel through the area on a north-south axis: SR-99, I-5 and I-405, and on the surface streets and ramps directly leading to these freeways. Before you get to these, and after you get off them, you'll see rather little traffic, and pretty much no congestion to speak of.
What I find interesting is there wasn't really any illustrations of the reported three layer road system, and the majority of the illustrations are of huge, open walkable areas. I would love to see how they're looking to address separating slow speed traffic from high speed traffic while keeping them both useful.
In fact, a lot of science fiction I can think of describe Disney-style people mover things that quickly and efficiently take you exactly where you want to go. I guess they aren't exactly cars, but they aren't exactly trains either.
There, residential zoning is mixed with business zoning. There is no such thing as a "suburb", because you have apartments nestled right next to grocery stores, cafes, and restaurants. I don't think I ever had to walk more than 2-5 minutes to get to a convenience store. Cars still existed of course, but so many people walked, rode bikes, or took public transit. (It helps that both countries have extremely good public transit systems).
Once I realized how nice life could be, I started hating suburbs. I hate having to drive 10-20+ minutes just to get food or groceries because the only thing around you is a vast sea of houses. I hate that public transit is basically nonexistent, or if it does exist, it's slow and not on time. I hate having to drive, which is both unsafe and prohibits me from studying or getting work done, because I have to pay attention to the road.
Centering around a suburb model is one of the US's greatest structural failures.
Regardless of gas or electric, cars are dangerous and kill more citizens than just about anything in modern society. Furthermore, encouraging people to drive everywhere rather than walking or cycling only exacerbates the obesity crisis (another major driver of mortality).
A lot of that science fiction was written by Americans.
Their overuse, rather, is bad.
That is still a tremendous improvement over having to drive everywhere. The quality of life is so much better, it's almost indescribable.
https://culdesac.com/ is close, but only in Arizona I believe
This is an irrational fear. In 2016, there were about 245 children under 14 killed by cars as pedestrians in the entire year: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/.... There are about 75 million children under 18, so let's say 40 million between ages 5 and 14. That's 0.6 child pedestrian deaths per 100,000 ambulatory children. That's about 1/5 as likely as the risk of a white person being killed in a homicide in any given year.
Moreover, about 332 children ages 5-14 were the victims of homicide in 2017: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/LeadingCauses.html. Us urbanists ridicule suburban parents for worrying that their kid will be shot if they live in an urban neighborhood. Your child being killed by a car while playing in the street is even less likely, and having any special anxiety about it--apart from the general terror of parenthood--is equally irrational.
We could certainly do better on this front. I'm pretty lucky to live in a pre-zoning code suburb with narrow little streets and houses close together, where I can let my seven year old play outside with my one year old as long as they're more or less within visual range. Neighborhoods like mine are illegal to build today. But, I grew up in a standard suburb, and we played on standard suburban streets starting at age 6+. It's pretty common outside big cities and pearl-clutching millennial parents.
I mean, if I fill the local pool with sharks it is indeed true that shark deaths will fall to 0 pretty quick.
If you fill the local pool with sharks, then you're still going to have a few people killed by sharks, because they chose to ignore all the warning signs about the sharks. The death toll will be pretty low, though, because most people will stop swimming because of all the sharks, but there's always a few people who refuse to obey.
This still doesn't fix the problem of why we stupidly put sharks in the pools to begin with.
When was this? I can find no time period in which child pedestrian fatalities were all that significant.
What exactly does this mean? Most children go in the street. 20% bike or walk to school: https://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/12/03/report-more-kids-are-.... It's 1/3 in temperate California: https://saferoutescalifornia.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/tra.... In a sampling of children 5-17, 61% rode a bike in the last month (with about 2/3 riding at least once a week): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5189688.
Even if there are other, larger, causes of death, that still doesn't make it irrational to want a city where one major cause of death for children has been eliminated. Especially when the cause of death in question is something as unnecessary as using a car to move around a city.
Presumably that metric would track back in time to some pre-time where suburbs were safer from cars and kids didn’t have to hunker town in front of screens for safety.
In my neighborhood the speed limit is universally 25 and the stop signs & one way streets keep traffic speeds down.
My son doesn’t know how to ride a bike yet but there are certainly under 10 yo all around riding in the streets. Further my son does walk to the park down the street by himself or with friends with the usual guidance about cars (“look both ways” etc).
Because that's what I see in the suburbs here in DC.
>In my neighborhood the speed limit is universally 25 and the stop signs & one way streets keep traffic speeds down.
Those aren't typical American suburbs if there's 1-way streets. That sounds much more urban in fact. The suburbs I typically see have wide streets, and 35mph speed limits, and people driving around quite a bit faster than that in their huge luxury SUVs. I also don't see kids in the streets at all, and for good reason: it's too dangerous. I don't feel safe at all on my bike, even though I ride very fast and as far right as I can (I only ride in the subdivision near me so I can get to the multi-use trail on the other side).
It is in fact illegal in Chicago to ride your bike on the sidewalk. Your contention would have to be that children have simply ceased using bicycles, which is obviously not true.
How has this thread lasted so long without a single reference to the seminal work of Campbell, Algar et al on the topic.
Pre-ubiquitous-cars, suburbs didn’t really exist. So it seems that any suburb-dwelling children would have always had to deal with streets used by cars.
Biking and other road activities is even more common for recreational use: https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2019/0...
> A recent national poll by the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital asked parents about bike habits among children ages 4 to 13 and found four in five parents said their child rides a bike, 50 percent ride non-motorized scooters and 17 percent use skateboards.
If 245 kids were killed in a plane crash or building explosion there would be media outrage. Yet we are so numb to constant deaths on roads that we just accept it as ordinary.
And reducing risks comes with exponentially more cost, at some point those costs may become other lives. E.g. if we took the extreme measure of banning any and all vehicles, period, then millions of people might die because economic networks sustaining society would collapse. But hey, almost no children killed by vehicles (some might still die, e.g. by being crushed under a decommissioned vehicle).
There's plenty of cities outside the US where most people do not use personal cars to get around, and where it's perfectly safe to get around by bike. Just look at Amsterdam and Copenhagen. The economies there are doing just fine, and much better in fact than many American cities.
So if 240 children killed by vehicles is too many and we set a goal no other than perfection then we have to get rid of vehicles.
Or we accept a statistic greater than zero.
Your entire argument is "we can't completely eliminate ALL deaths from any vehicle of any kind, so we need to keep our society car-based."
I never said the amount is equal.
> Your entire argument is "we can't completely eliminate ALL deaths from any vehicle of any kind, so we need to keep our society car-based."
Not at all. Neither did I say we cannot reduce the number. I said too many is not a useful statement. That is all this is about. Too many does not tell us what the correct tradeoff is. My concern is that people only see a number and want it go down to zero without taking pareto efficiency into account.
If yes, where exactly does too many stop?
Sure, this is a reasonable condition since "practical" subsumes about any caveat. But it is fundamentally incompatible with:
> zero should remain the goal.
You can asymptotically approach zero, but you cannot reach zero. So setting it as goal is aiming for something unachievable and thus a policy failure. It would be better to set goals that are actually achievable within some timeframe.
Summary from @bicycledutch
"Utrecht, Netherlands, plans a new neighbourhood with 4 to 6K homes for 12,000 people where everything is within walking and cycling distance (including the Central Railway Station). The design deliberately makes cars unnecessary."
This is one of the top reasons my wife and I tried to build our life to get EU citizenship, and why I tell anyone from my former country who wants a better life about the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, letting any American who can employ themselves move to the Netherlands.
It is difficult to do this type of development in the United States without a much higher degree of centralized planning and/or restrictive zoning. In the US, freedom afforded to property owners / zoning especially in more rural areas, not to mention an immense amount of open, "unused" land that makes this kind of car-centric development the norm. I imagine it's also much "cheaper" for the developer (if we ignore the cost to the commons)
Which is exactly the reason nothing is getting better, FYI.
If it's worth doing, it worth fighting tooth and nail for.
You're missing a link in the logical chain. It's hard to build transit/bike lanes in America because that requires central coordination, and Americans don't like central coordination. That's why Americans love cars so much. Driving and road construction is extremely decentralized. Few towns are sophisticated enough to build rail, but pretty much every place can pave a road, and connect it to roads to neighboring jurisdictions without too much planning. So as long as Americans prefer their decentralized system, advocating for things like transit that inherently require a level of central planning is swimming upstream against the culture.
All of those things are true because people gave up trying when it got hard to fix/improve them.
If you look at the most well-off subgroup of Americans, Asian Americans, you see some remarkable statistics. Asian Americans live an average of 87.1 years, longer than people in overwhelmingly Asian countries like Japan and Singapore. Asian American kids have higher scores on the PISA test than kids in any European country, or Japan or Korea. (Just below Singapore.) Median household income for Asian Americans is double that of Japan or Singapore. Asians don't have access to a special version of America. They participate in the same health care system, the same public schools, etc. They're just disproportionately represented in the "somewhat above median" category, and America does really well for those people.
The infrastructure and public transit sucks. Which is fine. Americans don't want public transit. They want to drive everywhere. That's why we invented the drive through. The pervasiveness of driving is why Americans have some of the shortest commutes in the OECD: https://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/14/world-of-commu....
Affordable housing may be an issue in some American cities. But most Americans don't live there. Most live in suburbs/exurbs, or satellite cities. American mortgages as a percentage of income are on the lower side for the developed world: https://www.oecd.org/els/family/HC1-2-Housing-costs-over-inc.... 15% in the United States, versus 23% in say France and 17% in Germany. Rents are about in the middle, but a much smaller percentage of Americans rent than Europeans.
Despite paying similar amounts on housing, we have truly massive houses in the United States: http://demographia.com/db-intlhouse.htm. The average new house is 2,200 square feet, versus 1,200-1,300 in France or Germany.
We eat 40% more meat per capita than the EU: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/08/these-countries-eat-t.... We have the second-highest per-capita consumption expenditures in the world, a hair under Hong Kong, 33% higher than Switzerland, and 86% more than France: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_household....
Are they happy with it, compared to being uninsured, or are they happy with it compared to what it should be?
Are they happy with it because they haven't yet had non-trivial interactions with the healthcare system, and have not yet gone through that layer of billing hell?
> The infrastructure and public transit sucks. Which is fine. Americans don't want public transit. They want to drive everywhere.
Likewise, do they 'want' to drive everywhere because they've not built working public transit? Or do they actually want to spend $4-8,000 a year on buying, maintaining, fueling, insuring, licensing, and storing a car (Times two for two-car households)?
Inferring 'wants' from polls and statistics is incredibly easy to taint with whatever bias the poller brings to the table.
I think a lot of it is that most of them haven't ever been outside their own country, and seen what it's like in other places. You're right about "billing hell", and of course that we get much worse outcomes for more money than anyone in the world, but if you say this to most of these "happy" Americans, they'll say something about long waits in Canada, or worse, "death panels".
> Overall, how would you rate -- [the quality of healthcare you receive/your healthcare coverage] -- as excellent, good, only fair or poor?
That's quite obviously asking people to rate it on an objective scale, in comparison to some perception of "what it should be." Interestingly, half of privately insured were even "satisfied" with the cost.
> Likewise, do the want to drive everywhere because they've not built working public transit? Or do they actually want to spend $4-8,000 a year on buying, maintaining, fueling, insuring, licensing, and storing a car (Times two for two-car households)?
People like the idea of transit in the abstract, but tend to reject it when faced with balancing their other wants and needs. There's a handful of cities with decent transit (New York, Chicago, Boston, DC), but ridership peaked in all of them in 2014-2015: https://www.geekwire.com/2017/seattle-area-transit-ridership.... The only major city where ridership is growing is Seattle, which has the benefit of starting from a very low baseline.
Moreover, New York, Chicago, and Boston are all losing domestic residents to other cities: https://www.citylab.com/equity/2014/04/2-very-different-migr.... DC is growing, but Metrorail ridership has been declining for a decade, ever since Uber/Lyft became available. Most domestic migration is to cities with poor or non-existent transit, like Dallas, Phoenix, etc.
> People like the idea of transit in the abstract, but tend to reject it when faced with balancing their other wants and needs.
For the most part, they just don't want to ride in a shaky, loud bus that comes every 30 minutes. It's not a matter of balancing wants and needs, it's a matter of taking the least bad out of two bad choices. Expressing the desire for transit, but not using transit probably means that people want transit... To be better, before they use it.
The amount of money that is poured into transit, though, is a pittance compared to the amount of money that is poured into private automobiles, which is a large part of why the transit option sucks as much as it does.
The reason for why large, expensive metro areas are losing small numbers of people is probably not 'people want to drive'. It's 'the cost of living is too damn high'. And it's not the buses or the subway that's driving up the cost of living, it's land speculation, foreign buyers, and rock-bottom interest rates on 25-year mortgages.
And, again, people are horrible at actually measuring how much their lifestyle choices cost them. They whoop and holler at the lower rent from living in suburban sprawl, but don't notice that the various costs of car ownership are nickel-and-diming them, and their municipality's budget.
They also don't make the obvious connection that driving everywhere and never walking is what's causing them all to get so fat.
On average, people who rate themselves as in "good" or "very good" health still spend $4,000-$6,000 on healthcare annually. Younger folks have kids, and deal with childbirth, ear infections, allergies, ear piercings getting infected, broken bones, etc. They also have routine illness (I had a bad cough this year, my wife had a sinus infection a few years ago, I had surgery for a deviated septum in high school). 78% of people 30-49 report that their healthcare is "excellent" or "good." 70% of folks 55-64 have at least one chronic condition: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/health_policy/adult_chronic_conditi.... 80% of those folks, who are too young to qualify for Medicare, report receiving "excellent" or "good" healthcare.
American healthcare is really quite good if you've got employer-provided insurance. Going back to remarkable asian american facts: Japanese Americans have an infant mortality rate 33% lower than Japanese in Japan, and also live several years longer. They have Kaiser Permanente or Aetna, just like everyone else. It's also extremely convenient, especially in the suburbs. I walked into an urgent care for my kid's ear infection yesterday, and made a next-day appointment with his pediatrician for a follow-up. We also saw the pediatrician to get our daughter's ears pierced, and visit her regularly to remind our daughter to eat vegetables before dinner. When I had a cough earlier this year, I booked a same-day appointment with an app.
> The amount of money that is poured into transit, though, is a pittance compared to the amount of money that is poured into private automobiles, which is a large part of why the transit option sucks as much as it does.
This is why I used Chicago, Boston, New York, and DC as examples. These are well-funded systems. D.C.'s Metrorail has a bigger budget than Stockholm's subway, despite having half the ridership.
> The reason for why large, expensive metro areas are losing small numbers of people is probably not 'people want to drive'.
People don't "want to drive." They want low taxes, flexibility, and big, affordable houses. The average new house in the United States is 2,400 square feet and costs $275,000 ($115 per square foot). There is no urban area in the developed world where you can buy condos that large near transit for that kind of price. I bought a house on the water in suburban Maryland for $175/square foot. To get that kind of price in a city, I'd have to go to western China.
Having experienced NL bike culture first hand a great deal I think it’s awesome, but it’d also be frustrating to have a bunch of rules imposed on new development at a state or federal level. This stuff has got to start locally.
Agreed - you should fight for that and support it, especially in your local community.
Most of the people in the US do not live in rural areas. They either live in urban areas that are already heavily subjected to zoning laws , or in suburban areas which are... Also heavily subjected to zoning laws.
The US is unique in that it adds another level of centralized planning + restrictive zoning called an "HOA" - but that level exists in addition to the municipal one.
Also, car-centric development is not cheaper for the developer. The more units they can cram onto their plot of land, the more money they stand to make. Parking requirements, and offsets, and low density zoning restrictions cut into their profits.
 Yes, you can name a few major cities that don't have zoning laws, but that does not cover the majority of the US.
You can drive a car in Utrecht when you really need to, but most of the time it’s better and more convenient to walk or cycle.
My 6-year-old and I bike 4km (2.5 miles) to school every morning, 75% on dedicated bike lane. We cross 10 roads and have right-of-way at most crossings anyways. I have no safety concerns and my kid is super fit!
About the density, everything is just closer together over here. Public transportation is well-built and trains work great for anything further than that. Cars are mandatory by design in the US.
It's not "just" close together like it happened. The US has made it illegal to build human-scale dense neighbourhoods for 50% years.
Parking minimums, density restrictions, street width minimums, LOS (level of service) planning, etc. all combined to make the US an unwalkable, uncyclable, unenjoyable place to be a human. As a reward the US gets about 35,000 people a year killed by drivers, and many many more indirectly through lung disease, cancer, obesity, etc. as well as parents terrified to let their kids ride a bike.
Lots of free parking though.
This is a fantastic series illustrating the effect of urban design policy in the US
Development gets done in whatever way makes best use of the available resources at the time. The overwhelming majority of the cities and towns in Europe were built out before transportation over land was slow and expensive so you had dense town centers surrounded by farmland and dense cities surrounded by even more farmland so to avoid spending precious resources on transportation. The practical limits on transportation constrained development.
By comparison huge portions of the US were built out after the advent the automobile (often tearing down and building over places that were previously more densely developed) and being geographically large there was always more land to build into so you got sprawling development because overcoming distance was fast and cheap.
The way we have more or less not built any infrastructure since the 20th century despite increasing population (and increasing clustering of the population in urban areas) is starting to catch up and incentive density but it will take time and policy sticks/carrots if you want it to happen faster than it organically would.
So yes, Europe to a large extent did win the lottery in that regard though they didn't know it at the time.
There was also the General Motors street car conspiracy, which saw car companies buy up privatized public transit only to run it into the ground.
The fight against this future being imposed is also fascinating reading, particularly the work of Jane Jacobs. She correctly saw past the hyperbole to the unfortunate consequences, fought against the vision but lost.
The reason not much infrastructure is being built these days is simply that cities are running out of money and credit. Every road built comes with a price tag for building it, and an ongoing price tag for maintaining it. The building price was so often done on credit (bonds), but the maintenance price is usually not considered. Given that roads bring in basically zero income for a city, every road built comes with an obligation for the city but no way to pay for it. In the past credit was issued on the assumption that future growth would somehow provide some payback, but after 50 years cities have hit the growth limits and still not seen any payback. Strong Towns is an excellent book on the subject.
She was indeed against highways going through the middle of cities and in favor of walkability and mixed use.
At the same time, she also opposed rationalist urban planning like Le Corbusier's clusters of towering skyscrapers. She would likely not have favored the mass building of vertical housing that many of the same people who oppose cars want in order to reduce housing prices.
My (limited) opinion, is that auto-centric opponents want dense, walkable, cyclable cities. That doesn't imply towering skyscrapers, six stories of apartments with mixed retail, office, and light industry are sufficient. That should provide enough density to make public transit a viable option, if road space is reclaimed from cars.
(But you'll find no shortage of people arguing for basically bulldozing the Mission and building a bunch of high-rises.)
The other has to be more organic but takes a lot of time and tends to generate a lot of resistance if 2-story zoning is turned into 6-story zoning.
Can you explain what you mean? I’m having trouble squaring that with my model of developers, which is that they try to make money, not make efficient use of resources.
Are you talking about Europe specifically? I live in America.
This is the heart of what needs to change in the US. World-class bike cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen were just as car-centric in the 20th century as any American city. It took decades of deliberate, systematic change to make what they are today. This is just as possible for American cities as it was for their foreign peers.
>everything is just closer together over here
To this point, human-scale cities with fewer cars directly enable closer and denser habitats. Cars are a direct impediment to more livable cities. If you remove the cars, all of a sudden you have more space for people.
Would you want someone to tell you that your choices are limited because your city prefers "human scale" instead of whatever you prefer on the market that is totally doable?
While I acknowledge that in the United States the culture is extremely car-centric and that must change, some of that is history / culture / lobbying but a lot of it is because not all of us have the good fortune to be Dutch. As a result, housing choices and preferences are much different.
Making a more bike-centric culture starts with a number of things, not just bike lanes and denser cities. The city as a whole has to want it, first, and then continue to prove out the concept that bike-friendly can still be business friendly. (See: the old saw that "if my people can't park they won't shop here")
Note: I'm in favor of denser cities, but I also acknowledge that it removes choice and it's not just my opinion that matters. Also, I can't afford a house in Amsterdam.
To give just one example of these many, many, many rules, I just spoke with an architect about changes to my house and one of the rules is I need at least 2.4 metres of basically dead space where I meet the road because it's assumed I'll be sitting there in a car looking left and right before exiting. Saying "nah I ride a bike so I'm going to put a hedge up there" isn't an option.
"house with a yard, a few minutes drive from a walkable downtown,"
Problem is that every time you drive to that downtown you make it a bit less walkable by virtue of bringing your car. In effect, everyone there is paying a little bit of their quality of life for your parking. Sometimes, this makes sense (having a place for ambulances is good), but sometimes you end up with a tragedy of the commons.
You get sick and need a taxi to the doctors office? Need it. Tumble off the bike and break or sprain something, and you rent a car while you recover? Need it.
Do you plan on selling the house, and the buyer is a tradesman who need a truck to do landscaping or carry his tools?
You're not going to cycle always and forever. A lot of people here one day are going to get old enough where cycling is a chore, even with a ebike. At that point the hedge becomes an expensive nuisance.
"News article: can bicycles replace many car trips for some people?
That person: nobody can ever replace any car trips with a bicycle trip because I drive cross country every week with 14 hockey players and their equipment."
Those are two very different things.
Housing with yards, by and large, makes the city sprawl more, which takes away farmland.
If you want to dwell in a single family unit - that's great! You should absolutely be able to.
But other people ought to be able to be free to make different choices.
Obviously in the US more and more acreage around urban areas is being bought up and turned into housing stock and some of these areas can be quite far away, far apart, and not subject to as many zoning restrictions especially where population is already somewhat spread out (thinking of SW Ohio here, particularly)
The reason this isn't done is purely because of stupid zoning laws and NIMBYism.
I think the solution is pretty simple: make a state law that bans municipalities from making any zoning laws at all, and only allows the state government to control zoning.
It's not a hard boundary, and can grow as the city demonstrates a need.
It's also super-windy. Places that have massively adopted cycling rarely have the best environmental conditions for it. Minneapolis, for example, has some of the highest bike commuting numbers in the U.S., despite it's high snowfall and frigid temperatures. We're pretty good at making excuses, and "grass is greener"-ing places that make it work.
> ... very dense city
Chicken/egg scenario here. U.S. cities are sprawling because cars both require it and make it possible.
PS it's like a different planet riding you bike around in those temperatures!
-Cheap high-speed Internet-> It won't work in America because...
-Universal health care -> It won't work in America because...
- Mandatory vacations -> It won't work in America because...
The form of "American exceptionalism" that seems to be most common today is one of "we are uniquely important and many rules don't apply to us in the same way they would others, because of [various usually underlying differences like "freedom"/"democracy"/religious dominion/destiny]."
The difference between "we're going to reach the moon because we're special" and "let's spin up this massive program to do it in response to discovering that another nation might be dangerously ahead of us."
That last bit of logical reasoning is, in my opinion, not supportable. Let's look at the things the government already does in America in compare it to what the government does in Germany. Germany spends $11,000 per student on public education. We spend $12,800 per student. But our schools are much worse. Transit is the same story. Germany spent $250 million per kilometer to build the U55 line in Berlin. New York spent $2.2 billion per kilometer for its most recent line: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/1/14112776/ne....
So yes, America is exceptional. For whatever reason, we are uniquely bad at running public services. Contrary to popular belief, its not because of "lack of funding." (The American government does less, but in the areas it does something, like education, it usually spends more to get worse results.)
Americans understand this intuitively, and that's why they say "it won't work in America because." They may not be able to pull up statistics about how their municipal water/sewage system is poisoning kids and destroying the environment, but they perceive that their government just doesn't do a good job. When polled, they say so. Since 2006, 80-90% of people polled reported being "frustrated" or "angry" at their government: https://www.people-press.org/2015/11/23/2-general-opinions-a.... Even in 1997, 2010, and 2015, all during Democratic administrations, only 1/3 of Democrats thought that the federal government did an "excellent" or "good" job running its programs. For the population as a whole in 2015, 33% said it did a "poor" job, and just 20% said it does an "excellent" or "good" job. As of 2015, 53% would rather have a "smaller government" offering "fewer services" than a "bigger government" offering "more services."
The most remarkable statistic is for millennials: https://reason.com/wp-content/uploads/assets/db/140488628178.... When you ask millenials whether they want a smaller government providing fewer services (with low taxes) versus a larger government providing more services (with high taxes), 57% want a smaller government with fewer services, while just 41% want a larger government with more services. Basically, when you ask millenials--the most pro-government demographic there is--whether they want more of a European-style government, they say "no" with a 3:2 margin.
Yes, America is exceptional. Americans hate taxes, hate their government, and frankly, on various measures, their government isn't very good at what it does.
Given how many problems Italy has had over the years with massive corruption, it's really a rational decision.
It would be nice if there could be one big city in the world that fully embraces the ban of private cars.
When I retired last spring I gave my car to my granddaughter and shipped it to her. I can use my wife’s car and use Uber in a pinch, but I like walking.
Safety is an issue. A friend’s roommate was walking in our town and hit by a car and killed before Christmas. I would enjoy walking even more if we had more sidewalks, and more dedicated lanes for the bikers.
How badly? Because I assure you, there are many communities (caveat: I'm Canadian) where the idea of letting your child bike the streets is not equivalent to signing a death warrant.
Here's the rub: you have to leave the metropolis. Not many people are actually willing.
A lot of people here seem to never have actually ridden bikes. I have, did so for 20 years, and it gets very miserable, very fast if the weather is nothing short of perfect.
The center of Davis is devoid of bicycle paths outside of some parks that don't actually go anywhere or connect to any other paths. If you're on the south side, you can get downtown fairly easily mostly by bike path (especially from campus), but you won't find any bike paths when you get there (and actually, depending on what you consider downtown, only one path actually makes it all the way there).
So sure, the paths 'count', but I wouldn't even call Davis bicycle-centric. I definitely don't think it's what the original poster has in mind.
If I had to pick between walking on a road at night vs a cycle path I’d pick the road for safety every time, at least you can hear and see cars coming.
A path that cyclists use to actually get somewhere in a short time should not be the same path that loafers with dogs use to bumble around and relax on. Cycling isn't just for fun; lots of people actually use it for transportation, because it's much faster and more efficient than walking. And there's nothing wrong with bumbling around with your dog (on a leash), but it's a very different activity than what the cyclists are doing.
Similarly, you wouldn't have the busy airspace over an airport shared by people playing around with their R/C planes and drones.
"Rip up all city streets with jackhammers" and "sod the streets at once ... All public movement would be by foot and a fleet of bicycles, maintained by the city police force."
How ironic if the utopian, factory-city for Toyota is one free of cars.
I have so far written 17 chapters of Jellicles farms, villages and cities. I am doing city design now. Any inspirational material to read would be much appreciated.
During farming season, I spend most of my time writing about imaginary future automated farms as I am in the zone already. Off season now and I have more time to read and write about new cities. I have been reading old archeology finding reports, JBS haldane and Sci fi..old will be new again. Only better.
I want to finish at least 36 by this year end. I want to have had at least one blue print per month since I started but I have been lagging behind.
It was to be a five year project ending in 2020. 60 seems unrealistic at my pace, but I would feel better if I did 3 years worth of cities. I am lagging behind because lots of research involved. But I will finish it! I only wish I could do 3D models. I never learnt that when younger or could cultivate the skills needed for model building. My dream would be to create miniature model cities with forests and oceans and farms and mountains. And keep connecting these cities. Keep building out. My vision of the future is clusters of city states. No more nations and countries.
Promoting only small lifestyle type businesses and limiting the ability for one person or business to dominate the landscape might be able to deter the city from becoming just like any other.
Obviously designing and running a city is incredibly complex with an unknown number of variables so the probability of success if very low. Still something I like to daydream about occasionally.
But overall this is just an announcement that BIG will design employee housing for Toyota.
Not sure if there are (m)any examples of prototype cities or planned cities that ever amounted to anything?
There are exceptions, like Las Vegas, of course. Or many newer Chinese cities.
To acquire hundreds of acres of prime land suitable for an urban environment is generally something only a government can do. And to additionally provide for the infrastructure and/or buildings would send the cost into the stratosphere.
Masdar has been canned, yes, but they have talked about replacing it with a new city called NEOM. It is projected to cost at least 500 billion dollars, assuming they stay within budget. No private actor has that kind of cash to spend.
Smaller private company towns have been commonplace, though. And many existing towns meet that definition.
Disneyland, Disneyworld, and Celebration, Florida are more obvious examples.
Lesser known examples would include Pullman, Illinois or Columbus, Indiana (no relation to the capital of Ohio)
I don't think Columbus fits into this category. It is one of hundreds of pre-automobile county seats that exist all over the US (east of the Rocky Mountains). It has an urban-like street grid with the county courthouse in the middle. What sets Columbus apart from the rest is having a successful multi-national manufacturing corporation that refused to let the town die. On top of that, the founder created a foundation that will pay the architect fees for any civic building if they use a famous architect. The government or church or bank or whatever still has to pay for construction, so you end up with a city with outstanding architecture that is sized exactly for what a small city needs.
If you spend time in Columbus, you'll notice that their hugely successful downtown is mostly old buildings in excellent condition.
Indeed, I can only think of a few ground up examples for cities that "suceeded" and they're almost always new capital cities where the Government can literally create demand for jobs via moving the bureaucracy. Examples include Washington DC, Brasilia(Brazil) and Canberra(Australia). But these cities often do not have a lot to offer unless you work for the government. DC has a large private sector, but it's attached to Federal work.
The rigidity of top-down planning removes the ability of the city to adapt to new things and it often misses the nuance of what makes a place livable.
Also the federal government created a city called Boulder City to get the workers away from Las Vegas. Another planned city. So clearly the location of the workers was less important than the location of the mafia.
In the twentieth century (even early 20th century), US cities just didn't get planned/organically evolved in a car-light way. Irvine, CA is a pretty classic example of a planned city and it's mostly industrial office parks and spread out suburbs.
Land isn't really the issue. You do need access to water and you probably don't want to be too far from an existing road network. The bigger problem is bootstrapping an environment where people would both want to live and where their would be employment opportunities.
I will keep dreaming.
If we want that, we need to write plans, find residents to invest (?), buy land, and build it. Who's with me?
1. Try to drive change by local involvement. Many US cities have become incrementally more bike and pedestrian friendly over time
2. Make an effort to move somewhere that's closer to their ideal even if it means giving up salary and other aspects of where they're living today
Now, there’s potentially a worthwhile discussion about why Elon has seen more success with these kinds of endeavors than larger incumbents have seen, but it’s exactly an Elon-style project.
And likely complete it before Toyota.