Designing our countries to accommodate cars as much as possible has been one of the most destructive things to our health, environment, safety and social connectedness. The damage has spread so...
Designing our countries to accommodate cars as much as possible has been one of the most destructive things to our health, environment, safety and social connectedness. The damage has spread so far and deep that it has reached a crisis point in most developed cities in almost every country. The suburbs we live in are subjected to strict zoning laws baring any form of high density building and any form of mixed zoning. As a result our houses are spaced so far away from each other and from the essential services we need that unless you own a car you are blocked from having a normal life. The main streets full of independent stores and markets have all been killed by megamalls 30km away from where people live with carparks bigger than most park lands. All of this was caused by car usage pushing our societies further and further apart to the point where many people find it acceptable and normal to drive 40km each direction to work each day.
One of the more devastating effects of this urban sprawl is the supermarket has been moved so far away that most people avoid going as much as possible and limit it to a single trip every 1-2 weeks. Fresh food does not last 1-2 weeks which leaves people throwing out mountains of spoiled food that wasn't eaten in time as well as the move to processed foods packed full of preservatives. As well as a shift to people buying dinner from drive through takeaway franchises because their hour long commute has left them with little time to cook fresh and healthy foods.
Owning a car in many countries is seen as the only way to get a job. This locks the poor from ever regaining control of their life because the cost of owning and maintaining a car is higher than most of these people get in an entire year. Our city streets which should be places of vibrant liability have become loud, unsafe and toxic.
Elon and his electric cars solve none of these issues. Electric cars are not the way of the future. They don't even solve air pollution issues entirely because a large part of air pollution is brake pad fibres and tire wear which is proportional to the vehicles weight. And these Teslas are not light.
The only solution is reducing personal vehicle usage as much as possible in urban areas. Of course there will always be some people who will genuinely need vehicles such as in rural areas but there is simply no reason to have the average person drive to and from their office or retail job every day. Its wasteful and harmful in so many ways.
There needs to be a huge push to reclaim our cities and living spaces to bring back the liveability that we could have had. In my city some of the side streets were closed to cars and the change was incredible. Plants and seating filled the spots that would have once been a row of free parking. The streets are filled with the sounds of laughter instead of the roar of motors. The local pubs and cafes have benefited hugely. They didn't benefit at all from street side car parks that were always filled by people who have done 5 laps of the city looking for an empty park and do not intend to shop there.
What is everyone's opinion on this topic and what can we do about it?