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What will be America's first carfree city?

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What will be America's first carfree city?

Old 03-22-15, 03:22 PM
  #51  
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A city where it's against the law to drive your own car - somebody else's car, no problem. That's car-share.
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Old 03-22-15, 03:24 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I think a carfree city of the future will be about adoption of new technology--not a throwback to old technology. Drones will bring food that's ordered over new types of devices.
It may well be coming.
Amazon Gets FAA Approval to Test Delivery Drones, But There's a Catch - ABC News
Alibaba Beats Amazon to Drone Delivery - ABC News

One of the issues is that the global energy consumption is just not sustainable. So, any new "technology" would have to also include energy conservation.
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Old 03-22-15, 04:08 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
And if what they want is not provided, they will start up a new company to provide it.

I think a carfree city of the future will be about adoption of new technology--not a throwback to old technology. Drones will bring food that's ordered over new types of devices. People will go out mainly for fun and exercise, using a mix of old and new technology. Like bikes and driverless buses, with some trips on self-driven taxis, controlled bu Uber or some successor to Uber.

And this is just technology that is almost a reality. We can't even imagine what will exist in 2050, let alone 2100.
A world where cars dominate the landscape is bad enough. I don't want a bunch of drones cluttering the skies. I think birds will enjoy it less too and it may stress some species quite a bit.
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Old 03-22-15, 04:36 PM
  #54  
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I'll play.

I think the most likely real-life scenario is that all cities get car-free zones. However, for purposes of this game, I would say building a new car-free city is more likely than retro-fitting an old city. Too much built infrastructure and too many people entrenched in their driving habits to easily convert an existing city.

We had a thread earlier on how the Chinese are building a car-free city, just outside an existing city. It will be partly a self-contained city and partly a suburb of the old city with a rapid transit link. That might happen in North America.

I could see an ambitious plan to lessen sprawl around large, fairly close cities like New York, Philadelphia, etc, by building a fairly high density "destination city" maybe in rural Pennsylvania, with a cluster of low, medium and high rise apartments and businesses, all within walking distance of two or three high-speed train stations, each directly linking the residents to the older cities. With few actual roads, and little space taken up by vehicles, it would be very dense without feeling congested. Residents could work from home, work in a local office complex a few block from home, or hop on the train and be in downtown DC or Manhattan within the hour.

Or, every large existing city could have a green belt placed around it to limit further sprawl, and overflow population could go to a new, twin, high-density car-free city just outside the green belt. Sort of like a separate granny flat, only for a million people.

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Old 03-22-15, 05:04 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I think the most likely real-life scenario is that all cities get car-free zones.
Car-free zones, I could see. We call them "pedestrian malls" or possibly "market squares" here in Australia and in Europe.
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Old 03-22-15, 05:30 PM
  #56  
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In the USA, many of the cities grew up around cars. And, those that didn't, still had a lot of wide-open space for building. And we have urban sprawl. It will take a lot to change the car culture.

In Italy, many of the old cities had walls, offering protection to those houses within the walls, and no protection outside of the walls, but that caused relatively dense population areas including narrow winding streets that really are not made for cars.

That is one of the reasons that the popularity of the old Cinquecento, the Fiat 126, as well as the Piaggio Ape (ok, it has been a while since I've been there).

When I was there, there were few one-way streets, and many streets where so narrow that 2 fiat 500s could pass, but anything bigger would end up backing out.

I was staying in a flatter area, but there certainly are cities in Italy where the grades of city streets aren't conducive to cars either.

I could imagine some of those cities completely closing the inner sections to car traffic if they deemed alternative transportation as being sufficient.

However, one of the issues then becomes whether they would support car ownership. Perhaps part of what would need to be built would be big, secure parking garages a few miles out of town, so for those weekend trips, one could go snag the car and head off. Of course train service is pretty good there too.
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Old 03-22-15, 05:39 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
However, one of the issues then becomes whether they would support car ownership. Perhaps part of what would need to be built would be big, secure parking garages a few miles out of town, so for those weekend trips, one could go snag the car and head off. Of course train service is pretty good there too.
The public transportation infrastructure is pretty good in Europe ... much, much better than it is in the US, or Canada, or Australia.

IMO before any US city could attempt to go "car free", there would have to be an excellent public transportation systems set up, not only within the city, but connecting to surrounding cities.


BTW, Zermatt does it by having a large parking lot just outside town limits. You can drive to that point, and then I think the battery shuttles take you the rest of the way.
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Old 03-22-15, 05:47 PM
  #58  
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It is also not only the people wanting to get out of the city, but also the people from surrounding areas trying to get into the cities.

For a small city, perhaps half the population is actually living outside the city limits and commutes to the city for work or shopping.

Businesses don't like it when the city takes steps that decrease their customers... or force the customers to go to mega-stores rather than local mom & pop stores.
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Old 03-22-15, 06:06 PM
  #59  
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That's why I figure it could only really be done with a Zermatt-like place ... a small tourist town.

They can afford the space to put in a parking lot outside of town, and shuttle people into town with the little battery-powered shuttle vehicles. The population is only 5800. It would, of course, be more than that with tourists, but even so, it's not going to be that large.

They've got a good train service into the town.

There's no large manufacturing/industrial area which would need people employed on odd shifts, delivery vehicles and so on.

And although the surrounding towns have larger stores, etc., Zermatt has a certain appeal that attracts tourists/customers.


If there were a similar sort of town in Colorado ... or maybe a place like Moab, UT ... they might be able to make a go of it. Provided they installed some good public transportation internally and externally.
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Old 03-22-15, 06:51 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
It is also not only the people wanting to get out of the city, but also the people from surrounding areas trying to get into the cities.

For a small city, perhaps half the population is actually living outside the city limits and commutes to the city for work or shopping.

Businesses don't like it when the city takes steps that decrease their customers... or force the customers to go to mega-stores rather than local mom & pop stores.
I think a carfree city would be good for small businesses. People would rather walk to a nearby store than take transit or ride a bike to a large regional store like Walmart or a mall. (The malls appear to be dying out anyway, at least in the US.)

I think one key to a carfree city would be to have small shopping districts scattered around the city. Each district needs to have "real" stores like grocery, hardware, bank and so forth. All cities had these districts until about 40 or 50 years ago. The "real stores couldn't compute against the Walmarts and closed down. The buildings are still there in many cases. They are either empty or have cutrate stores, or have been converted into old towns with art galleries, boutiques, and trendy little restaurants. If a city became carfree, I think the old towns would convert back to real shopping districts.
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Old 03-22-15, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
That's why I figure it could only really be done with a Zermatt-like place ... a small tourist town.

They can afford the space to put in a parking lot outside of town, and shuttle people into town with the little battery-powered shuttle vehicles. The population is only 5800. It would, of course, be more than that with tourists, but even so, it's not going to be that large.

They've got a good train service into the town.

There's no large manufacturing/industrial area which would need people employed on odd shifts, delivery vehicles and so on.

And although the surrounding towns have larger stores, etc., Zermatt has a certain appeal that attracts tourists/customers.


If there were a similar sort of town in Colorado ... or maybe a place like Moab, UT ... they might be able to make a go of it. Provided they installed some good public transportation internally and externally.
Sounds good, but why does it have to be in the mountains?
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Old 03-22-15, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Sounds good, but why does it have to be in the mountains?
Tourism.

And specifically active tourism. Active tourists already have the mindset that transporting themselves using human power is OK. They are fit enough to walk, cycle, etc. and are there to do just that.

Zermatt appeals to all sorts of tourists, but especially active tourists who are into hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, etc. etc.

Moab, for example, might be a possibility because it is already a mtn bike mecca, plus there are hikes and other activities in the area.



Oh and water tourism (like a beach town) wouldn't work because people need a convenient way to haul surf boards, kayaks, etc.

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Old 03-23-15, 01:15 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
As for the west side of SF. Can you see that developing to become more like the eastern part of the city? It seems like there would be economic pressure to build apartments there, since there is not enough housing to fill the demand of people wanting to live in SF. (It seems like this has already happened in parts of Brooklyn, filled in by people who want to live in Manhattan but can't find affordable housing there.)
Well, there are a lot of apartments there already, but more of them are smaller buildings with 3 or 4 units and a yard. Single family houses are not as prevalent as they are in most cities. Infill would be problematic since the yards tend to be small and I doubt people would be willing to give them up. It's mostly residential without a lot of mixed use development (businesses tend to cluster on a few main streets), and there's not much buildable space left to add anything new.
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Old 03-23-15, 01:24 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
Another Bay area resident, and i agree withnthese points. Berkeley, who hates cars by policy is also a good candidate. It isn't well connected by freeways on the esstern side of town, and the roads are congested. Biking home hardly takes me longer than driving the streets.
Hrm, I didn't think of Berkeley, but you're right. They've been trying to discourage driving for years. I always thought those huge planters in the centers of intersections were brilliant; a car couldn't go through but a bicycle or motorcycle could.
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Old 03-23-15, 07:57 AM
  #65  
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Reviewing the "rules of the game" if we are hypothesizing that there will be a car-free city in North America in this century, one obvious issue is what advanced technology we will have. It's likely there will be far more sophisticated communication and transportation capabilities, so everthing we think of as normal may have completely changed. It will likely be possible to work from home while being completely connected to your office with either a virtual reality helmet, or a holographic projection of co-workers, or some other, to be determined means, and so on. However I have no idea what "work" you would be doing. It may be completely normal to have everything delivered by drone or driverless vehicle. Even shopping may be done, not in person and not by on-line catalogue, but by actual virtual reality browsing of the mall. You may not even need to transport your kayak or surfboard as Machka suggested - you could send it ahead by drone or print a disposable one when you get there.

So who knows what "need" people will have for personal vehicles.
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Old 03-23-15, 08:03 AM
  #66  
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In a way, a 3D printer is like a dumbed down version of the Star Trek transporter, but only for inanimate objects. You can beam your object to wherever you want it to be, and its molecules will be assembled at that spot.
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Old 03-23-15, 08:58 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Reviewing the "rules of the game" if we are hypothesizing that there will be a car-free city in North America in this century, one obvious issue is what advanced technology we will have. It's likely there will be far more sophisticated communication and transportation capabilities, so everthing we think of as normal may have completely changed. It will likely be possible to work from home while being completely connected to your office with either a virtual reality helmet, or a holographic projection of co-workers, or some other, to be determined means, and so on. However I have no idea what "work" you would be doing. It may be completely normal to have everything delivered by drone or driverless vehicle. Even shopping may be done, not in person and not by on-line catalogue, but by actual virtual reality browsing of the mall. You may not even need to transport your kayak or surfboard as Machka suggested - you could send it ahead by drone or print a disposable one when you get there.

So who knows what "need" people will have for personal vehicles.
With these new playtime rules, apparently nobody needs to do any physical work outside the home, produce anything except officework, or travel anywhere except to play or be a tourist. How or where do all the products get produced to be delivered to the at home shoppers by drone (including all these magically powered drones) and distributed and by whom? Who cares? It is "Playtime City" and anything is possible, eh?

Service/craft occupations to do home repair? Construction? Medical Care? Manufacturing? Apparently all to be accomplished at home or transported to the office worker/shopper population by robots using smartphone/drone or the next great thing?
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Old 03-23-15, 09:05 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Reviewing the "rules of the game" if we are hypothesizing that there will be a car-free city in North America in this century, one obvious issue is what advanced technology we will have. It's likely there will be far more sophisticated communication and transportation capabilities, so everthing we think of as normal may have completely changed. It will likely be possible to work from home while being completely connected to your office with either a virtual reality helmet, or a holographic projection of co-workers, or some other, to be determined means, and so on. However I have no idea what "work" you would be doing. It may be completely normal to have everything delivered by drone or driverless vehicle. Even shopping may be done, not in person and not by on-line catalogue, but by actual virtual reality browsing of the mall. You may not even need to transport your kayak or surfboard as Machka suggested - you could send it ahead by drone or print a disposable one when you get there.

So who knows what "need" people will have for personal vehicles.
By 2100, people may not need to go outdoors at all. I'm assuming that they will still want to go outdoors for recreation, exercise, spiritual reasons, or just to play in reality with other real people. Or to walk the dog. Cars would be optional for many of those outdoor activities.

There's also the chance that people won't be working by 2100. Not so much because they don't want to work or need to work. Rather, because there may not be any work. Many manufacturing jobs have already been eliminated by robot software, and jobs in other sectors will undoubtedly decline soon also. There will be many issues associated with a lack of work--social, economic, psychological, and so forth. Since work commutes are the largest segment of car use, mass non-employment would greatly reduc it.
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Old 03-23-15, 09:14 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
By 2100, people may not need to go outdoors at all. I'm assuming that they will still want to go outdoors for recreation, exercise, spiritual reasons, or just to play in reality with other real people. Or to walk the dog. Cars would be optional for many of those outdoor activities.

There's also the chance that people won't be working by 2100. Not so much because they don't want to work or need to work. Rather, because there may not be any work. Many manufacturing jobs have already been eliminated by robot software, and jobs in other sectors will undoubtedly decline soon also. There will be many issues associated with a lack of work--social, economic, psychological, and so forth. Since work commutes are the largest segment of car use, mass non-employment would greatly reduc it.
Sounds like a real car free paradise?
BTW, is "mass non-employment" more politically correct than "mass unemployment," or is it just less harsh sounding to sensitive ears of LCF dreamers?
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Old 03-23-15, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Sounds like a real car free paradise?
It sounds like a nightmare to me. How will people earn a living if there is no work?

Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
BTW, is "mass non-employment" more politically correct than "mass unemployment," or is it just less harsh sounding to sensitive ears of LCF dreamers?
Neither. Unemloyment refers to the temporary lack of a job in the context of an economy where most people work. Non-employment means a more or less permanent lack of work for many or most people, within an economy that is no longer job-based.
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Old 03-23-15, 09:47 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
It sounds like a nightmare to me. How will people earn a living if there is no work?
I agree, but that sounds like the home office/drone/smartphone shopper (nobody works outside the home) pipedream for the carfree city envisioned by some of our LCF comrades.
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Old 03-23-15, 09:56 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I agree, but that sounds like the home office/drone/smartphone shopper (nobody works outside the home) pipedream for the carfree city envisioned by some of our LCF comrades.
The difference seems pretty obvious.

If you work at home via an electronic network, you are employed, earning a paycheck, supporting yourself and family, and contributing to society and the economy. If you have never worked in your life, and have no prospects because the economy is no longer able to support jobs for human beings, you are non-employed and basically screwed.

Are we done splitting hairs? Can we get back to a discusion of possible carfre cities of the future?
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Old 03-23-15, 10:05 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Just over a hundred years ago, every city in the USA was carfree. Only a few guys in southern Michigan were even daring to think that someday the nation would be dominated by cars. To the vast majority of the population, car dominated cities were a silly pipe dream. They were all proven very wrong within one generation.
Personal automobiles as mass-transit never worked well. Cities were overrun with Model Ts by the 20's. Depression and tire rationing didn't quell the public thirst for them, so government social spending was ramped up to fund the unsustainable auto-economy. Many fits and starts later (i.e. many recessions and wars later), the global economy has made an art out of milking the US economy for easy money as its destructive unsustainabilities are also what drives its excesses.

I think this global dependency on US automotive-consumer economics will be the primary obstacle for car-free development in US cities. Not only US investors but the entire financial world is banking on keeping the US chock-full of cars and stuff to buy and tote around in them. Many European cities and other post-industrial areas can afford to import everything because of easy money driven by US consumer market investments. If driving becomes a reserved elite privilege for the wealthy few in the US, what will replace cars, car parts, fuel, and the car insurance industry in funds' investment portfolios?

Personal electronics are doing this to some extent, but how many investors (and job/money-hungry consumers) are will to accept a shrinking automotive industry just because media sales are growing? People want more of every industry and they don't comprehend the concept of limitations to economic growth. For this reason, automotive interests will target every area where car-free growth is potential and harass, pester, pooh pooh, insult, and otherwise discourage it culturally. It's like mudslinging in election campaigns, only the negativity gets directed toward cultural trends instead of political candidates.

So who's to say what changes we will see in urban transportation in the next generation or two? Technology is a strange and marvelous thing!
I can't wait for hyperloops to start popping up between cities. 700mph travel changes everything. I just hope there is sufficient awareness of the consequences and the appropriate ramping up of environmental responsibility to protect against the fallout of increased public mobility. Ironically, the combination of hyperloops and driverless taxis could result in more cars on the road and less parking. Hopefully this will also trigger more growth in walkability/bikability but many economic interests will be against it because people just inherently spend less when they can rely on their own bodies for mobility/energy rather than having to buy it from a business.

Maybe there will be an upsurge in politics that questions business that comes at the expense of basic human freedoms like being able to bike and walk around. It's hard to say what would prevent the public from being re-marketed back into dismissing the innate value of such freedoms, though. Economic interests seem to be relentless and the smartest brains all seem to be for sale. What does it take for wisdom to win out over the business-mind? Is it even possible in the age of mass-media?

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Old 03-23-15, 10:11 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Can we get back to a discusion of possible carfre cities of the future?
Sure. How and where do all the products get produced to be delivered to the at home shoppers by drone (including all these magically powered drones), and by whom using what?
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Old 03-23-15, 10:37 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Detroit is bouncing back. But I don't think Detroit will be the first carfree city. It's too sprawled out, IMO. Even before it lost half its population, it was the most spread out big city in the country. I have lived in Detroit without a car, and the distances are a big problem.
My guess is based on the idea that people will never, ever give up their cars. So if a disastrous, absolutely crushing economic depression were to hit America, which city would be hit the hardest (and therefore be the most car-free)?
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