6 votes

The Social Ideology of the Motorcar

2 comments

  1. nsz Link
    What a great read. Completely hilarious observation, wonder if it still holds true today. Like a dog casing it's tail; city grows so you need more cars, so the city needs to grow more. Interesting...

    What a great read.

    (…) Thus it takes this American 1500 hours to go 6000 miles (in the course of a year). Three and a half miles take him (or her) one hour. In countries that do not have a transportation industry, people travel at exactly this speed on foot (…)

    Completely hilarious observation, wonder if it still holds true today. Like a dog casing it's tail; city grows so you need more cars, so the city needs to grow more.

    (…) municipal bicycles, trolleys or trolley-buses, electric taxis without drivers. For longer trips into the country, as well as for guests, a pool of communal automobiles would be available in neighborhood garages.

    Interesting how much foresight the author had in predicting most of the solutions proposed today.

    It's funny in my city their once where trams some 80 years ago then removed to make room for cars, about 3 years ago they finished rebuilding the trams in the city centre.

    But as the article suggests elsewhere this cannot be the only solution, their needs to be change in city design as well as the approach to human time, the final paragraph explains this notion well;

    Above all, never make transportation an issue by itself. Always connect it to the problem of the city, of the social division of labour, and to the way this compartmentalizes the many dimensions of life. One place for work, another for “living,” a third for shopping, a fourth for learning, a fifth for entertainment. The way our space is arranged carries on the disintegration of people that begins with the division of labour in the factory. It cuts a person into slices, it cuts our time, our life, into separate slices so that in each one you are a passive consumer at the mercy of the merchants, so that it never occurs to you that work, culture, communication, pleasure, satisfaction of needs, and personal life can and should be one and the same thing: a unified life, sustained by the social fabric of the community.

    2 votes
  2. alyaza Link
    fair note, this is a fairly old essay (1973) and it's written from a leftist perspective as its author André Gorz was an ecosocialist. nonetheless, i think most of it still holds up pretty well...

    fair note, this is a fairly old essay (1973) and it's written from a leftist perspective as its author André Gorz was an ecosocialist. nonetheless, i think most of it still holds up pretty well and covers a lot of things about cars we don't necessarily think about. cars have fundamentally altered a lot of things, especially in america where other modes of transportation are basically nonexistent outside of select large cities.

    1 vote