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tandempower 01-11-14 10:55 AM

Understanding Backlash Against Car-Free Advocacy
 
I have noticed that when car-free living is promoted as a solution to social-economic problems, there is a tendency for backlash. At first, this backlash seemed as simple as any other form of backlash against criticism of status-quo. The roots of this kind of backlash would be as simple as, "I drive therefore anyone doing otherwise is implying that my choice to drive isn't the best choice and therefore denigrating and threatening me."

Now, however, I have started to think that the cause of backlash could go even deeper, having to do with the mainstreaming of motor-transit itself. Basically, it seems the expansion of motor-car popularity occurred together with the creation of New Deal economics, which had the goal of generating a more robust consumer economy where higher wages and more social spending would make it possible for more people to afford Ford's new mass-producable motor-cars along with all the other goods and services faster (automotive) transportation would give people access to.

So the modernizing economy of the 20th century was sort of a synergy between economic growth policies and practices that expanded automotivism/consumerism and the expansion of cities and intercity/interstate infrastructure that facilitated the ensuing growth in travel and commerce. Part of this growth involved intensifying economic pressure for people to participate in the economy in order to facilitate the benefits that everyone else would receive by them doing so. In other words, a culture emerged in which economic freedom began to be viewed as a threat to maintaining large-scale growth and consumerism. Compounding this was the problem that the idea of economic freedom itself became associated with serving and benefiting from the growing mass economy.

People who grew up in the 20th century culture of nearly-imperative economic participation also grew up with pressure to relinquish any beliefs or fantasies that they could be free to get around except by driving. While many rode bicycles as children and some people used public transit if they lived in areas where that was available and it wasn't made culturally taboo in their minds, growing up was construed as a process of 'biting the bullet' and submitting to making economic investments in motor vehicles and housing that would subjugate oneself to a life of debt-servitude. People who questioned and/or resisted this were scolded and badgered into conformity and sometimes ostracized or otherwise maltreated for exercising freedom.

So now that green consciousness is causing widespread rethinking of economic patterns and practices that were pushed on so many people so forcefully throughout the 20th century, the backlash may be due to the fact that people unintentionally or intentionally internalize the social pressure that was applied to them and pass it on to others. Compound this with the fact that taking personal responsibility for living more sustainably is also being pushed in the same way that unsustainable economic practices were before and the likelihood of emotional frustration is that much greater. As a result, they take out their frustration against the culture that seems to be in conflict with the one pushed on them at first.

Ultimately, I think people who are able to see and understand the reasons some economic practices become unsustainable and why others become more promising for the future are able to deal better with conflicting social pressures due to economic/cultural shifts. On the other hand, if a person is just trying to respond to social pressures in a way that keeps them out of trouble, such a situation must be more difficult to deal with. Because such people are confused, they attack difference in an attempt to eliminate any form of choice. I.e. they think that life is simpler if any alternative to the must-drive economy is unimaginable so they attack anyone that promotes the growth of alternatives.

Is this logic too cultural-psychological to be significant or do you think this describes and explains a general pattern in the anti-green backlash? Also, do you think that such backlashing can subside without resulting in substantial setbacks and delays in continuing the pursuit of more sustainable transit and economic patterns? Or do you think that the culture behind the backlash is so strong that it will perpetually work to undermine any alternatives that threaten its absolute dominance? If it does, what do you think the next test of its sustainability will be? More economic crashes? Wars? Gridlock and chaos?

rebel1916 01-11-14 11:01 AM

Here is the backlash. More people live in rural areas and suburbs, than in walkable/transit friendly cities. Many cities aren't even conducive to car free living as business and industry moved to suburban office parks. Therefore, the automobile is essential to American life due to planning decisions that were made years ago. It is literally impossible to go back and change these things now, so ownership of private vehicles and subsidization of roads are necessary to keep the economy humming and keep peoples investments in their homes from plummeting to nothing. This is not a value judgement, it's just the way things are.

SmallFront 01-11-14 11:07 AM

Nope, when I, for one, "backlash" it is not against going car free. It is because of the holier-than-thou attitude, the lack of empathy so often shown by fundamentalists, and the general attitude that "everyone should live like me", be it dumpster diving, living car free, being a vegan, or what else they can think of to make them feel special.

I don't have a car myself, nor do I need one. However, that is not because of political or idealogical convictions, nor do I feel the need to share the gospel.

I don't have any wet dreams of ammageddon, and gleefully think of how people would then be forced to live car free, dumpster diving or on one anothers couch.

And when these things are pointed out, the go-to response is that one must be too entrenched in some car culture, because how could someone even think to disagree with the basic premises and go against the fundamentalism on show.

Cars and car drivers are not my enemy. Just like trucks and truck drivers are not my enemy. I'm a pragmatist and do not have wet dreams of people being forced to make do without a car, regardless of needs.

gerv 01-11-14 01:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tandempower (Post 16401763)
Is this logic too cultural-psychological to be significant or do you think this describes and explains a general pattern in the anti-green backlash? Also, do you think that such backlashing can subside without resulting in substantial setbacks and delays in continuing the pursuit of more sustainable transit and economic patterns? Or do you think that the culture behind the backlash is so strong that it will perpetually work to undermine any alternatives that threaten its absolute dominance? If it does, what do you think the next test of its sustainability will be? More economic crashes? Wars? Gridlock and chaos?

I don't think there is as much of a backlash as you imagine, particularly in most northern US (and certainly Canadian...) cities. People living with cars are generally recognized as pursuing their own right to choice.

As for an anti-green backlash, I suppose there might be some reason to believe this. But if you go to the grocery store, about 50% of customers are toting "green" bags. This tells me they are willing to do simple, straightforward things they believe good for the environment.

Somehow I think the problem might be in the failure to commicate the benefits of doing even more "green" things. It's a mind-share battle that will be won by going after the low-hanging fruit. A car-free lifestyle is a wonderful thing, but gradually making more trips to work and or groceries via transit, bikes or walking... that's the route to deal with any backlash. Don't talk about benefits for the planet. Talk about the benefits (health, wallet...) for the individual.

tandempower 01-11-14 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rebel1916 (Post 16401776)
Here is the backlash. More people live in rural areas and suburbs, than in walkable/transit friendly cities. Many cities aren't even conducive to car free living as business and industry moved to suburban office parks. Therefore, the automobile is essential to American life due to planning decisions that were made years ago. It is literally impossible to go back and change these things now, so ownership of private vehicles and subsidization of roads are necessary to keep the economy humming and keep peoples investments in their homes from plummeting to nothing. This is not a value judgement, it's just the way things are.

I suspect it will suddenly seem less impossible to you when the economic problems finally leave you without the means to afford driving-dependency. Or do you think that the economy will ever provide the means for everyone to drive everywhere without crashing? If you don't, do you think you'll ever be the one caught on the losing end of the crash? If you don't, could that account for your acceptance of status-quo?

Quote:

Originally Posted by SmallFront (Post 16401783)
I don't have any wet dreams of ammageddon, and gleefully think of how people would then be forced to live car free, dumpster diving or on one anothers couch.

Poverty is inevitable but being able to live car free, as well as these other things you mention, are ways of reducing its impact on well-being. Apparently, like the last post, you fancy the idea of always being on the winning end of economic crash. It's easy to do when the disenfranchizement is usually limited to a small proportion of local populations.

Quote:

Cars and car drivers are not my enemy. Just like trucks and truck drivers are not my enemy. I'm a pragmatist and do not have wet dreams of people being forced to make do without a car, regardless of needs.
Not individually but when they rally against the growth of car-free living, it is arrogant that they don't acknowledge that the unsustainability of motor-traffic dominance is what causes economic recessions. Why can't people just see the growth of sprawl and traffic as leading to economic failure? How do they think such development can proceed endlessly without crashing under its own economic weight?

Quote:

Originally Posted by gerv (Post 16402132)
I don't think there is as much of a backlash as you imagine, particularly in most northern US (and certainly Canadian...) cities. People living with cars are generally recognized as pursuing their own right to choice.

No one is aware that widespread resistance to change means holding course with unsustainable economic development? Maybe because 'sustainability' has been used so much in terms of environmental protection, people assume that unsustainability has nothing to do with economic problems; as if environmental resources could theoretically be destroyed and cities grown to untenable levels of sprawl without any actual economic problems resulting from it.

Quote:

As for an anti-green backlash, I suppose there might be some reason to believe this. But if you go to the grocery store, about 50% of customers are toting "green" bags. This tells me they are willing to do simple, straightforward things they believe good for the environment.
What happens is that when they're not making enough money to afford the drive-everywhere lifestyle, they advocate cutting expenditures for what they consider to be non-essential roads and lanes. The implication is that the motor-car lanes are essential and that the economy that pays for them can be revived without making things worse. They don't want to admit that road-narrowing, densification, etc. might actually be necessary to improve economic conditions.

Quote:

Somehow I think the problem might be in the failure to commicate the benefits of doing even more "green" things. It's a mind-share battle that will be won by going after the low-hanging fruit. A car-free lifestyle is a wonderful thing, but gradually making more trips to work and or groceries via transit, bikes or walking... that's the route to deal with any backlash. Don't talk about benefits for the planet. Talk about the benefits (health, wallet...) for the individual.
Yes, that is what's going on. Car-free living is being promoted as a beneficial economic opportunity but those who feel road-narrowing and denser planning are a waste of money that could be spent on maintaining existing roads are fighting against them. I think this may be because they were pushed to accept the motor-sprawl economy from an early age and so now they refuse to imagine that anything else could be more viable economically.

SmallFront 01-11-14 02:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tandempower (Post 16402233)

Poverty is inevitable but being able to live car free, as well as these other things you mention, are ways of reducing its impact on well-being. Apparently, like the last post, you fancy the idea of always being on the winning end of economic crash.

Never said anything of the sort. You're outright lying. I said I did not look with glee, hoping for armageddon, hoping that everyone would be forced to do without a car, being forced to go dumpster diving, and being forced to live on the coach of one another.

Nothing in that says anything about me "always being on the winning end of economic crash". Where do you get that from, if not from your wet dreams of armageddon, hoping for these things?

Quote:

It's easy to do when the disenfranchizement is usually limited to a small proportion of local populations.
And there it is. That's the reason you outright lied in order to build your strawman.


Quote:

Not individually but when they rally against the growth of car-free living,
Sorry, I don't live in Idiotville. The only "rallying" I see is the holier-than-thou people who rally against society, hoping it will collapse in their lifetime, so their anti-car rallying cries, dumpster-diving, vegan-eating, and/or couch surfing "lifestyle" can be vindicated.


Quote:

it is arrogant that they don't acknowledge that the unsustainability of motor-traffic dominance is what causes economic recessions.
No, it's arrogance to think that your choice is, and should be, the choice for everyone else.

Quote:

Why can't people just see the growth of sprawl and traffic as leading to economic failure?
Yes, having to drive, say, 50 miles for a job is by choice only. Why can't they just uproot the family, and both the parents can just move right next to their job. Let's hope that they both can get a job in the same area, that their children can come to a good school and whatnot.

Quote:

How do they think such development can proceed endlessly without crashing under its own economic weight?
Only those people who live in the small town I previously mentioned believes it can proceed endlessly, but it is not just a matter of giving up cars, and then everyone could live happily. You need infrastructure to make it happen, and getting rid of all cars will not happen in our lifetimes or that of our grandkids.


Quote:

No one is aware that widespread resistance to change means holding course with unsustainable economic development?
You, on the other hand, are railing against cars as if everything would be great if no cars existed. People would loose their jobs because their mobility decreased, some people can't bike for helath reasons, and for a whole lot of other people, there is simply not the infrastructure to make it happen for them personally.

Quote:

Maybe because 'sustainability' has been used so much in terms of environmental protection, people assume that unsustainability has nothing to do with economic problems; as if environmental resources could theoretically be destroyed and cities grown to untenable levels of sprawl without any actual economic problems resulting from it.
No, sustain and the derivation sustainability is a normal word understood by most English speakers, be it native or otherwise.


What happens is that when they're not making enough money to afford the drive-everywhere lifestyle, they advocate cutting expenditures for what they consider to be non-essential roads and lanes. The implication is that the motor-car lanes are essential and that the economy that pays for them can be revived without making things worse. They don't want to admit that road-narrowing, densification, etc. might actually be necessary to improve economic conditions.

Roody 01-11-14 02:48 PM

I don't worry much about backlash. By far the biggest trend in the Modern Era has been the movement of people from rural areas to cities. This trend is picking up pace even now that more than half of the people already live in cities. Cars led the way in this trend, but now they're holding it back. I think it's inevitable that by the end of this century, almost all people will live in large cities, and almost all of those city dwellers will be more or less carfree.

No backlash can stop this, although backlash will make the transition more painful than it needs to be in a few countries (notably the USA).

I don't see this as Armageddon. I see it as a marvelous opportunity for our species and our global habitat to thrive and prosper on a simpler and more spiritual scale.


If anybody knows of any way that the world can sustain ten billion folks who all own cars, please let us know. If not, get ready to tell your cars good-bye. And that will be a good thing!

Ekdog 01-11-14 03:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gerv (Post 16402132)
I don't think there is as much of a backlash as you imagine, particularly in most northern US (and certainly Canadian...) cities. People living with cars are generally recognized as pursuing their own right to choice.

As for an anti-green backlash, I suppose there might be some reason to believe this. But if you go to the grocery store, about 50% of customers are toting "green" bags. This tells me they are willing to do simple, straightforward things they believe good for the environment.

Somehow I think the problem might be in the failure to commicate the benefits of doing even more "green" things. It's a mind-share battle that will be won by going after the low-hanging fruit. A car-free lifestyle is a wonderful thing, but gradually making more trips to work and or groceries via transit, bikes or walking... that's the route to deal with any backlash. Don't talk about benefits for the planet. Talk about the benefits (health, wallet...) for the individual.

It's really unfortunate that--lest we be accused of being hypocrites and "fundamentalists"--we can't speak out in favor of lifestyles that benefit society as a whole, that we must limit ourselves to mentioning only those measures that might bring about some personal gain. What about the concept of the commons, i.e., that there are resources held in common, not owned privately, over which people have rights?

Roody 01-11-14 04:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SmallFront (Post 16402312)
....
You, on the other hand, are railing against cars as if everything would be great if no cars existed. People would loose their jobs because their mobility decreased, some people can't bike for helath reasons, and for a whole lot of other people, there is simply not the infrastructure to make it happen for them personally....

I think this is a great point. You can't criticize people for making the wrong choice, when in fact they have no choice at all. This is why even incremental improvements in the infrastructure are so important. If people can start to see the benefits to themselves of having an alternative to cars, the backlash will be decreased.

This is the important role that carfree people can play--not to point out the shortcomings of the system we have (cars and single-use roads), but to show the potential benefits of new systems (like bike infrastructure and better transit).

Another point I think you were making, that the OP doesn't seem to agree with, is that cars were (and still are in some countries) an economic boon to many people (rich and poor) because they increased mobility at a relatively low cost. It does no good to pretend otherwise--this is the reality of the past that still affects the present.

Now we are faced with some challenges: a) that the cost of energy is starting to rise, and b) the mobility value of cars is decreasing as traffic becomes more congested. At the same time, c) the threat to our way of life from climate change is looming rapidly. If we don't rise to these challenge by implementing some alternative transportation, we will be sorry.

tandempower 01-11-14 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SmallFront (Post 16402312)
Never said anything of the sort. You're outright lying. I said I did not look with glee, hoping for armageddon, hoping that everyone would be forced to do without a car, being forced to go dumpster diving, and being forced to live on the coach of one another.

Maybe I misread your point. It sounded like you meant that people who are happy about these strategies for living well through economic recession are 'hoping for armageddon.' It sort of compresses different issues into something that makes economic innovation look like something evil. What happens is that people are shocked at the prospect of what economic recession can do and they begin to adapt. Then when they discover there are ways to overcome disenfranchisement, it makes them happy for obvious reasons. Does this mean they hope for even worse economic problems as a result? No, but when you see that many people don't even bother doing anything to reform economic practices to make the economy more sustainable, it's like they are intentionally soliciting 'armageddon' (as you describe it). These anti-reformists are often the same people to deride those who innovate economically so isn't it logical that some people might be waiting for the moment 'what goes around comes around' and those people get saddled with the burden of economic innovation for their own well-being? Isn't it logical that you would be curious how they would feel about being derided for their 'dumpster diving' the way they deride others?

Obviously this is a pure ego-issue and the reality is that the worse economic problems become, the more difficult it becomes to 'dumpster dive' and otherwise innovate within the existing economy. Still, on another level, turnabout is fair play and so how terrible can it be to wish on others something you've been through yourself and ended up better off for having done? Economic innovation may not be as glamorous as shopping and spending liberally but there are lessons in it that would benefit everyone to learn. Call it "hoping for armageddon" if you want but it's really just lamentation of the fact that so many people are able to shrug off the need for reform despite the widespread economic malaise that so many other people are coping with and trying to solve.

Quote:

Nothing in that says anything about me "always being on the winning end of economic crash". Where do you get that from, if not from your wet dreams of armageddon, hoping for these things?
I just don't see why else anyone would consider the ability to salvage unspoiled food from dumpsters a bad thing, let alone car-free living, unless they had always had the privilege of affording the expenses that come with avoiding such things.

Quote:

And there it is. That's the reason you outright lied in order to build your strawman.
Did you understand what I wrote? I said that it's easy to ignore the possibility of becoming disenfranchized when only a minority of local populations are subject to it. What lie? What strawman?

Quote:

Sorry, I don't live in Idiotville. The only "rallying" I see is the holier-than-thou people who rally against society, hoping it will collapse in their lifetime, so their anti-car rallying cries, dumpster-diving, vegan-eating, and/or couch surfing "lifestyle" can be vindicated.
Is your attitude not 'holier-than-thou' when you assume that your way of living is simply 'society,' whose reform you view as nothing more than 'collapse?' What you call 'society' IS the gradual collapse of the republic. Calling it "the American Dream" is holier-than-thou.

Quote:

No, it's arrogance to think that your choice is, and should be, the choice for everyone else.
I never said that everyone should choose to live car free. What I said is that unless there is growth of car-free living, motor-traffic growth will continue to cause economic problems for everyone. That doesn't mean everyone has to stop driving but if some people don't, more economic problems will disenfranchize more people from having the choice to drive.

Quote:

Yes, having to drive, say, 50 miles for a job is by choice only. Why can't they just uproot the family, and both the parents can just move right next to their job. Let's hope that they both can get a job in the same area, that their children can come to a good school and whatnot.
It doesn't matter whether it's by choice or not. Either way it still leads to economic problems. Just because people can't manage to solve these problems doesn't mean they will get an exemption from the economic consequences they create. It's like getting raped and then claiming that it wasn't your fault you caught HIV. It's a tragedy but the reality is that motor-traffic growth is unsustainable so if alternatives aren't growing, then economic problems will ensue. Is it holier-than-thou to say so?

Quote:

Only those people who live in the small town I previously mentioned believes it can proceed endlessly, but it is not just a matter of giving up cars, and then everyone could live happily. You need infrastructure to make it happen, and getting rid of all cars will not happen in our lifetimes or that of our grandkids.
Who said anything about making 'all cars' go away? The problem is that because driving is viewed as more or less a necessity or entitlement for everyone, car-free living is not growing. As long as alternatives are not growing, then population growth is going to result in motor-traffic growth and THAT is what causes economic problems, not the fact that some people drive.

Quote:

You, on the other hand, are railing against cars as if everything would be great if no cars existed. People would loose their jobs because their mobility decreased, some people can't bike for helath reasons, and for a whole lot of other people, there is simply not the infrastructure to make it happen for them personally.
Why do I get accused of this straw-man? I am not rallying against cars, per se', but against the belief that motor-traffic can continue to grow without consequences. The problems of living car-free need to be solved for at least some people so that population can grow and relieve pressure to expand motor-traffic and sprawl. Yet for some reason people like you make me out to be for total elimination of all motor-traffic, maybe because you're so afraid that growing car-free traffic would undermine the ability for some people to continue driving. It's like drivers have united into an all-for-one and one-for-all movement where 'no driver must be left behind.' Reality is that the more people live successfully without cars, the more people will be able to do so more easily, and that will mean better driving for those who do continue to drive because there will be less motor-traffic to deal with.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 16402314)
I don't worry much about backlash. By far the biggest trend in the Modern Era has been the movement of people from rural areas to cities. This trend is picking up pace even now that more than half of the people already live in cities. Cars led the way in this trend, but now they're holding it back. I think it's inevitable that by the end of this century, almost all people will live in large cities, and almost all of those city dwellers will be more or less carfree.

There is a danger there that rural areas will grow into huge sprawling suburban regions between cities. Also, people in smaller cities and towns argue that they don't have the population to justify density in order to maintain that car-free living doesn't need to grow there. Reality is that all development of rural areas for the sake of allowing motor-traffic to expand is accelerating the destruction of forests and other natural lands. Car-free living has to grow everywhere, for the most part, for economy and environment to be sustainable. Anything else may slow down the over-paving of the planet, but eventually natural lands will disappear if motor-traffic infrastructure continues to expand, however slow.

Quote:

I don't see this as Armageddon. I see it as a marvelous opportunity for our species and our global habitat to thrive and prosper on a simpler and more spiritual scale.
I agree, which is why I'm questioning the backlash against road-narrowing and densification.

Quote:

If anybody knows of any way that the world can sustain ten billion folks who all own cars, please let us know. If not, get ready to tell your cars good-bye. And that will be a good thing!

You're right that it's probably not a bad idea to plan to live car-free regardless, but as long as there is progress toward more car-free living and less motor-traffic, equilibrium will be reached eventually. Worst case scenario, however, is that we'll end up seeing a situation like before the US civil war where republicans were content to let slavery fade away gradually but when it started expanding into new territories instead, north and south polarized and war ensued.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Ekdog (Post 16402354)
It's really unfortunate that--lest we be accused of being hypocrites and "fundamentalists"--we can't speak out in favor of lifestyles that benefit society as a whole, that we must limit ourselves to mentioning only those measures that might bring about some personal gain. What about the concept of the commons, i.e., that there are resources held in common, not owned privately, over which people have rights?

This conflict between common-good and personal gain should be questioned. Erosion of the commons has effects at the individual level and vice versa. If natural resources and cities degenerate due to either private or public abuse (or both), it will negatively affect individuals' ability to prosper individually. Public regulations are for the benefit of private individuals by protecting all resources from degradation by private or public (ab)uses.

B. Carfree 01-11-14 08:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rebel1916 (Post 16401776)
Here is the backlash. More people live in rural areas and suburbs, than in walkable/transit friendly cities. Many cities aren't even conducive to car free living as business and industry moved to suburban office parks. Therefore, the automobile is essential to American life due to planning decisions that were made years ago. It is literally impossible to go back and change these things now, so ownership of private vehicles and subsidization of roads are necessary to keep the economy humming and keep peoples investments in their homes from plummeting to nothing. This is not a value judgement, it's just the way things are.

Not in the America that I have seen. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...8EQ5AJ20120326

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lisa Lambert, Reuters
In 2010, a total of 80.7 percent of Americans lived in urban areas, up from 79 percent in 2000.

Even those suburban office-park landscapes are pretty easy to ride in. Just because there isn't a bus or a bike emblem on the ground doesn't mean one must consign oneself to a motorized wheelchair.

gerv 01-11-14 08:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ekdog (Post 16402354)
It's really unfortunate that--lest we be accused of being hypocrites and "fundamentalists"--we can't speak out in favor of lifestyles that benefit society as a whole, that we must limit ourselves to mentioning only those measures that might bring about some personal gain. What about the concept of the commons, i.e., that there are resources held in common, not owned privately, over which people have rights?

Yes it is unfortunate. But seems kind of pointless trying to convey this concept to people who have no predisposition to understanding the point. I do occasionally run into people who seem to understand this point, but when I start to see glazed expressions... I revert to my plan B.

rebel1916 01-11-14 10:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tandempower (Post 16402233)
I suspect it will suddenly seem less impossible to you when the economic problems finally leave you without the means to afford driving-dependency. Or do you think that the economy will ever provide the means for everyone to drive everywhere without crashing? If you don't, do you think you'll ever be the one caught on the losing end of the crash? If you don't, could that account for your acceptance of status-quo?

I think for the foreseeable future that crash you long for is not going to happen. And despite the opposition of some luddites, I suspect that there will be plenty of innovation between now and when we run out of fossil fuels. Also, I work in a recession proof industry. As long as there are A-holes, I have a job.

Quote:

Originally Posted by B. Carfree (Post 16403046)
Not in the America that I have seen. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...8EQ5AJ20120326



Even those suburban office-park landscapes are pretty easy to ride in. Just because there isn't a bus or a bike emblem on the ground doesn't mean one must consign oneself to a motorized wheelchair.

The vast majority of the NY/Newark metro area are giant sprawling suburbs. And most people do not live near where they work. In fact, that NY metro area has the longest commute in the country.
http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data...utes-us-cities
Listen, I am not hostile to car free living. I was a bicycle commuter for a number of years and a year round motorcycle commuter for longer than that. I do think that the very long winded OP, is failing to take into account the many structural, economic and emotional reasons, that many Americans, are hostile to people who hate the automobile and gleefully hope for its demise.

ironwood 01-12-14 03:00 AM

What "backlash" are you talking about? It's true that there are some journalists,eg Dorothy Rabinowitz of the WSJ and someone at the WashingtonTimes, who rail against cycling; and there are a few others, including one that I won't mention, otherwise this thread will be sent to Politics and Religion, as was I thread I started on the A&S forum.

People are now realizing that you can't have a city if the only transportation available is the private car; and many young people, who live and work in the city, find car ownership is more trouble than it's worth, choose to go car free.

Machka 01-12-14 03:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ironwood (Post 16403516)
otherwise this thread will be sent to Politics and Religion, as was I thread I started on the A&S forum.

You say that as if it is a bad thing. It's not. If a thread is sent to P&R it means that it is available to be discussed by those who care about P&R issues, in whatever way they wish to discuss it. :)

Dave Cutter 01-12-14 03:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ironwood (Post 16403516)
What "backlash" are you talking about?

I agree..... any backlash against cyclists or cycling... I think would be felt by all of us, me included. NOT just the passionate advocates. I think what the OP sees as backlash is simply the heartbreak of unfulfilled advocacy.

Automobiles saved American cities. The problems of horse based transportation and shipping was unimaginable by todays modern minds. The smell of the manure, the pollution, the flies, the disease. Automobiles saved the cities and the gasoline engine forever changed our farms. Overnight a farmer went to being able to manage a few acres of crops that mostly went to feed work animals.......... to farming more than a hundred acres of crops... that entirely went to feeding humans. Don't kid yourself by thinking that all that available food didn't help the cities.

Now... in todays new decentralized world... cities are losing their value. The centralized lifestyles that were needed for human survival in previous centuries... is no longer required. No one needs to go to the city to shop as we did when I was a kid. Walmart and other big box stores saw a need and forever changed that. What followed was more manufacturing and warehousing is now far outside the big city limits. Then the InterWeb... and things like Amazon came along!

The technology is changing in transportation too.... although we haven't seen it... YET. But soon even the air transportation HUBs will falter and new routing methods will make centralized living even less relevant. And gasoline will be replaced by some other popular fuel.

Bicycles can't "fix" all this change. Nothing fixes change. Not even advocacy.

Roody 01-12-14 03:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Machka (Post 16403532)
You say that as if it is a bad thing. It's not. If a thread is sent to P&R it means that it is available to be discussed by those who care about P&R issues, in whatever way they wish to discuss it. :)

That would be unfortunate. The discussion tone on P&R is mostly snide, cynical, and poorly informed. In this forum, we are having a reasonable discussion, and several people have put a lot of time and effort into it. Obviously they (we) have an interest in the topic, and it is relevant to our understanding of carfree cycling.

If this topic is not interesting to you, Machka, I suggest that you could quite simply exit to another thread. It's just as easy as changing the channel on your TV set to find a program you prefer. :)

Roody 01-12-14 03:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 16403541)
The technology is changing in transportation too.... although we haven't seen it... YET. But soon even the air transportation HUBs will falter and new routing methods will make centralized living even less relevant. And gasoline will be replaced by some other popular fuel.

Bicycles can't "fix" all this change. Nothing fixes change. Not even advocacy.

And yet, in every country in the world, cities are getting larger and denser, while the countryside is thinning out. A couple years ago, the number of people living in cities surpassed 50% of the world population for the first time in history.

And what is the new fuel for cars that you speak of?

Dave Cutter 01-12-14 04:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 16403545)
And yet, in every country in the world, cities are getting larger and denser, while the countryside is thinning out. A couple years ago, the number of people living in cities surpassed 50% of the world population for the first time in history.

True... cities keep expanding! So... how does that explain or add value? I don't see your point. Do you really believe the world is centralizing????

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 16403545)
And what is the new fuel for cars that you speak of?

I think those Psychic networks all went under... I guess you could try Tara Cards. I myself prefer to look at trends. If you don't see the trends... ether you haven't looked or you just can't see them.

no1mad 01-12-14 04:34 AM

Perhaps the reason why there is now a larger percentage living in urban areas is simply due to the fact that the population has increased- and habitats have to be crammed together/stacked or lose agricultural lands for housing.

And bio-fuels might just replace the fossil fuels yet- algae can be turned into oil in an hour. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101287355

Roody 01-12-14 04:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by no1mad (Post 16403570)
Perhaps the reason why there is now a larger percentage living in urban areas is simply due to the fact that the population has increased- and habitats have to be crammed together/stacked or lose agricultural lands for housing.

And bio-fuels might just replace the fossil fuels yet- algae can be turned into oil in an hour. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101287355

Living and working on a farm is not an enjoyable life for most people. They prefer the bright lights and the big city, with many more opportunities for careers, education, entertainment, and culture. Besides, with the ongoing mechanization of agriculture, we no longer need many farm hands.

At the same time, I agree with your point that a larger population more or less requires urbanization. It's hard for me to picture any living arrangement, other than cities, that would have a chance of sustaining a population of ten billion people.

Artkansas 01-12-14 04:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by no1mad (Post 16403570)
Perhaps the reason why there is now a larger percentage living in urban areas is simply due to the fact that the population has increased- and habitats have to be crammed together/stacked or lose agricultural lands for housing.

Or that's where the jobs are or money is.

Quote:

Originally Posted by no1mad (Post 16403570)
And bio-fuels might just replace the fossil fuels yet- algae can be turned into oil in an hour. http://www.cnbc.com/id/101287355

Now if they can only get the price down. It's still described as "incredibly expensive".
http://gas2.org/2013/12/18/new-algae...-than-an-hour/

Dave Cutter 01-12-14 05:06 AM

Urban growth... is just growth. whether called sprawl or growing cities... it's the same thing. Rural populations are also growing. The idea that people who don't live in population centers are farmers.... is kinda silly. Manufacturing hasn't been centralized in decades (not many cars made in Detroit now-a-days)... education has strongly been trending to on line education. I really think the Internet might catch on.

Biofuels aren't anything new at all. It seems to me that the earliest lamps used whale and/or olive oil. But... experimentation with biofuels are part of the trend I mentioned earlier.

Machka 01-12-14 05:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Cutter (Post 16403597)
The idea that people who don't live in population centers are farmers.... is kinda silly.

Absolutely!

There are a lot of other things going on in less populated areas. :)

howeeee 01-12-14 05:48 AM

Actually you have fat Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto spouting anti bike rhetoric such as if a bicyclist gets killed riding amongst autos, it is his or hers own fault. He actually took some bike lanes away when he came to power.


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