A while ago one of the relatively anti-car-free members (although I got the impression that his trying to justify his multiple SUVs was because he felt guilty and was possibly even considering a gradual switch to car-free/car-lite) started a thread about building a car-free city. The thread no longer exists, which is why I posted this one. The member suggested that if we all believe in it so strongly, we car-free people should try to buy some land and build a city from scratch. I suppose it would be a city that could show our commitment to being car-free and demonstrate how it could be done.
On several levels, I think it's a great idea. I'd love to live in a city built around the ideals that most intentionally-car-free people hold, such as conserving resources and the environment, and trying to avoid the incredible inefficiency of using a 3000-pound vehicle to move a 150-pound person plus 10 pounds of the person's stuff. Businesses and homes would of course be built in locations that were accessible without cars, and easy-to-use public transit would be critical.
There are some major challenges though. Most cities grow somewhat "organically" around some economic need for a city- usually an area needs a place of commerce and possibly manufacturing, and the easy way to do that is for people to start businesses near other complementary businesses. And the city needs to have adequate water and preferably plenty of locally-farmed food. Trying to create a city from scratch would be difficult even if if all of the natural surroundings were near-perfect. (of course, you can start small and see where it goes!) Still, it's an interesting idea.
Speaking of starting small, I'm thinking if you wanted to try to create a city you might start with one of those relatively self-sustaining eco-commune places. If I remember right, some of the existing ones are already rather large, with maybe 50 people living in them. If one of those communes wanted to try to build itself up into a village and later possibly a city, it could be tried. Or one could start a community/commune with future growth in mind as a possibility, and see how big you can make it. Either way, it's all just dreams, but maybe, just maybe, somebody will act on them at some point.
Also see the following:
I tend to believe that in order to effect change, (such as reducing developed countries' dependence on cars) it helps to get little ideas adopted in a widespread way, gradually. But if it's practical to do so, it also helps to demonstrate an "ideal situation" for others to compete to achieve. A comparison that comes to mind is the combination of housing being demonstrated with a few off-the-grid solar/wind powered houses, and then many, many other houses being built with just good insulation and an efficient but affordable heater.