Archive for October, 2014

Would the World Be a Better Place Without Cars?

children-for-peace_thumbA BBC article I read today suggested that with moderate activity alone, people could be physically fit. With that in mind, I’ve argued for years that the car has been single largest source of obesity in society (see The Transportation Trap). Well, it made me think of another way in which car culture has greatly impacted the world we are creating.

Cars have enabled more extreme social behaviors. I‘m from the United States and constantly wonder how it became such a violent society. And, I attribute a great deal of the blame on the car. Traditionally people were stuck in one place. In order to fulfill basic needs for social acceptance by their community, people would self moderate behavior in order to be more accepted. Now people can live without knowing their neighbors. Mobility has enabled people to disassociate themselves from these traditional anchors of family and neighbors. I believe this has had the effect of enabling more extreme behaviors by making it easy for people to self-select who they have to “deal” with. While this can be empowering, it can also lead to “silo-ed” or incestuous thinking. Being forced out of necessity to get along with your neighbors teaches people how to “play well with others.”

I bring this up as one example of how we can “tweak” the way we live now that will have positive ripple effects into the future. What you think? Would the world be a better place without cars?

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October 29, 2014 at 11:36 am 2 comments



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