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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 06-08-14, 06:33 AM   #1
MickeyMaguire
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carfree "dot" com

Carfree Cities

Lots of cool stuff to read-- if you have never seen this site, then, you'll love it.
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Old 06-08-14, 08:52 AM   #2
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Bookmarked. Thanks!
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Old 06-08-14, 02:31 PM   #3
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I especially like the huge archive of old photos that shows what our street scenes looked like before cars came along. His design ideas for a new carfree city are fascinating, but in recent years he seems more interested in making existing cities more carfree.

The author, J.H. Crawford, recently moved to Nepal and started a Carfree Institute. Evidently he will be helping the local government to establish Bhaktapur as a carfree city.
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Old 06-08-14, 02:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting. I used to have a copy of his book, but when we moved to a smaller flat I had to get rid of it along with most of my books. Good reading.
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Old 06-09-14, 12:36 AM   #5
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Thanks for posting. I used to have a copy of his book, but when we moved to a smaller flat I had to get rid of it along with most of my books. Good reading.
I discovered his website in 1996 some time. I introduced my wife to the website when we were engaged. We were in St. Augustine, Florida last October on holiday and we parked the car and left it until we left the city and went south to Vero Beach. We had a great time walking the streets and meeting people along the way.
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Old 06-10-14, 01:57 AM   #6
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Bookmarked. Thanks!
I'm surprised Joey did not know this site. LOL!

J.H. Crawford has been around for years and created and is who I consider a leading authority on the carfree life. I enjoy reading his site but there really isn't much more to publish anymore. He pretty much visited and wrote about all the carfree cities one would care to live. His studies on the damage of gloal motorization shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
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Old 06-10-14, 06:47 PM   #7
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I'm surprised Joey did not know this site. LOL!

J.H. Crawford has been around for years and created and is who I consider a leading authority on the carfree life. I enjoy reading his site but there really isn't much more to publish anymore. He pretty much visited and wrote about all the carfree cities one would care to live. His studies on the damage of gloal motorization shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.
Yes... we've talked about Crawford in many posts. He is in many ways the first carfree visionary... making us look to the past for excellent designs, but also thinking of how a modern city could be built from the ground up. The only criticism I have is that he seems a little weak on how modern cities (particularly US cities) could be retro-fitted to be less car-heavy.
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Old 06-10-14, 07:06 PM   #8
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Yes... we've talked about Crawford in many posts. He is in many ways the first carfree visionary... making us look to the past for excellent designs, but also thinking of how a modern city could be built from the ground up. The only criticism I have is that he seems a little weak on how modern cities (particularly US cities) could be retro-fitted to be less car-heavy.
I noticed that too. But some US cities do have distinctive neighborhoods that possibly could be the basis for the nodes in Crawford's design.

Detroit, with vast abandoned tracts, would be a good site for a new carfree city--if economic problems could be surmounted.
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Old 06-10-14, 07:31 PM   #9
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I noticed that too. But some US cities do have distinctive neighborhoods that possibly could be the basis for the nodes in Crawford's design.

Detroit, with vast abandoned tracts, would be a good site for a new carfree city--if economic problems could be surmounted.

I kind of disagree with this. While Crawford has lots of good ideas, you'd need someone to absorb all of them and come up with some specific design patterns.

So for example, Crawford makes recommendations on the optimum height of city building (around 3 stories...IIRC... rather like Amsterdam...) and street width( rather like Italian city cores). This wouldn't work in a retrofit, but it would also seem pretty foreign in a new development. At least in North America.

I just wonder how this would fly with planning committees, charettes, neighborhood associations...

Seems to me like fertile ground for someone to take these ideals and develop a series of practical steps to achieve Crawford's goals.
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Old 06-10-14, 08:24 PM   #10
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I kind of disagree with this. While Crawford has lots of good ideas, you'd need someone to absorb all of them and come up with some specific design patterns.

So for example, Crawford makes recommendations on the optimum height of city building (around 3 stories...IIRC... rather like Amsterdam...) and street width( rather like Italian city cores). This wouldn't work in a retrofit, but it would also seem pretty foreign in a new development. At least in North America.

I just wonder how this would fly with planning committees, charettes, neighborhood associations...

Seems to me like fertile ground for someone to take these ideals and develop a series of practical steps to achieve Crawford's goals.
I read a more recent Crawford article where he seemed more flexible about his designs. (Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read this. I will try to find it.) I think Crawford lived in Amsterdam at the start of his carfree career. It will be interesting to see how he will be influenced by living in Bhaktapur. Maybe there will be pagodas all over the place in the next edition of Carfree Cities?

Classic Crawford is four story buildings, BTW, not three. Several of the newer developments in my city are three or four story buildings with shops on the first floor. I don't know if the developers read Crawford or not.

Also, Crawford likes internal courtyards or squares, but North Americans are crazy about external yards and gardens, so another cultural adjustment must be made.
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Old 06-11-14, 05:58 PM   #11
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Classic Crawford is four story buildings, BTW, not three. Several of the newer developments in my city are three or four story buildings with shops on the first floor. I don't know if the developers read Crawford or not.
Ok... I'm a story short.... (I'm told a few short of a full stack )

An interesting fact for me is that he talks about Christopher Alexander's patterns Carfree Cities: Planning: Patterns which are, rather than his monolithic approach in his book, simply a series of recipes to solve common problems and to build organically... from existing structures. This approach is probably more acceptable to most architects and it's also how you grow a suburb into a livable space.
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Old 06-11-14, 10:07 PM   #12
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Ok... I'm a story short.... (I'm told a few short of a full stack )

An interesting fact for me is that he talks about Christopher Alexander's patterns Carfree Cities: Planning: Patterns which are, rather than his monolithic approach in his book, simply a series of recipes to solve common problems and to build organically... from existing structures. This approach is probably more acceptable to most architects and it's also how you grow a suburb into a livable space.
Crawford's overall design pattern resembles beads on a string, like a necklace. The beads are the "nodes" or local neighborhoods, each served by a single transit station. The string represents the actual train or trolley tracks that connect the nodes. The necklace itself could be laid out in a long straight line, or it could be arranged in a tight spiral pattern, or anything in between. If you look at it this way, Crawford's basic pattern could be adapted to many different geographical locations--including perhaps individual cities.

You can see aerial photos showing that infill development clusters around transit stops (like beads) even without urban planning. I have read that one place where this has happened recently is in DC's Virginia suburbs (Arlington?) when the DC metro was extended out that way.
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Old 06-12-14, 12:50 AM   #13
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I'd love to see a city built from the ground-up around Crawford's models. The one thing really lacking where I am (Columbus, Ohio) is efficient public transportation. I live on the edge of the city (far southwest corner). I would have to walk a short distance to catch a bus, but, there are none running at a time that I could take to work on my schedule. I start my work day (in the office) at 5:00 AM. I leave at 1:30 PM. I'd have to change schedules if it were possible.

When my wife and I move to Florida, I plan to sell my car and that will leave us with her car alone. I'll go car-light, very light. I might get a scooter.
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Old 06-12-14, 01:19 AM   #14
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I'd love to see a city built from the ground-up around Crawford's models. The one thing really lacking where I am (Columbus, Ohio) is efficient public transportation. I live on the edge of the city (far southwest corner). I would have to walk a short distance to catch a bus, but, there are none running at a time that I could take to work on my schedule. I start my work day (in the office) at 5:00 AM. I leave at 1:30 PM. I'd have to change schedules if it were possible.

When my wife and I move to Florida, I plan to sell my car and that will leave us with her car alone. I'll go car-light, very light. I might get a scooter.
So many people say that the only thing stopping them from being carfree is the crappy bus schedule.

I know what it's like. For many years I worked second shift, 3 to 11 PM. Lots of buses to work, but none coming home. Thank goodness for bikes and good commute routes! Now I work 7 PM to 7 AM, so there are buses coming and going. But I only live a couple blocks from work now...my usual bad timing!
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