Would the World Be a Better Place Without Cars?

October 29, 2014 at 11:36 am 2 comments

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?


Entry filed under: Design, People, Sustainability, Thoughts. Tags: , , , .

Time to Change Our World

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. notdeadthreads  |  October 29, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    We at Not Dead Threads believe it would be! At the same time, the principles for the issue or over-populated roads goes for clothing. We can reduce the amount of Co2 emissions if we’re more educated on the risks involved with the irresponsible production means. Do you agree? Keep up the good work.

  • 2. shapeofthingstoni  |  October 29, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I think getting rid of cars would be a start, but we’d really need to redesign our societies first! I’m currently living in a VERY big city without a car and the inability to escape the urban grind and get out into nature when I need to is killing me. Smaller, cycle-able and walkable cities with minimal public transport would help us in so many ways, from reducing food miles and connecting people with producers to reinforcing social connection and participation. It’s a tough ask though!


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