Urban Fold

Countering Car-Orientation

Cities around the world are trying to undo decades of car-oriented planning. Lester Brown takes a look at the trend and finds some models for other global cities to follow.

By expanding public transportation, emphasizing public spaces and rediscovering reasons to get people out of their cars, cities around the world are trying to redefine their urban realms, according to Brown.

"The world's cities are facing unprecedented challenges. In Mexico City, Tehran, Kolkata, Bangkok, Beijing, and hundreds of other cities, the air is no longer safe to breathe. In some cities the air is so polluted that breathing is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. Respiratory illnesses are rampant. In many places, the number of hours commuters spend sitting in traffic-congested streets and highways climbs higher each year, raising frustration levels.

In response to these conditions, we are seeing the emergence of a new urbanism, a planning philosophy that environmentalist Francesca Lyman says 'seeks to revive the traditional city planning of an era when cities were designed around human beings instead of automobiles.'"

Full Story: Parking lots to parks: Designing livable cities

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