A City Without Cars

Michigan's Mackinac Island has been car-free since 1898. GOOD Magazine pays a visit to the island and finds that far from being Luddite, the island is very progressive, from extensive wifi to hydroelectric power.
May 12, 2009, 8am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"The automobile ban goes back to 1898, when residents of the 4.4 square-mile island (the name of which is pronounced Mackinaw) voted to keep the place car-free. Other laws are in place keep out fast food chains (and, of course, drive-thrus) and franchises-with the exception of a lone Starbucks-and ensure that new buildings adhere to a rigid, era-specific aesthetic. You can see it on the walls of the island's Grand Hotel-one of the only remaining all wood-beam structures in the United States-which boasts an innovative, energey-efficient heating and cooling system, and whose owners are working toward LEED certification and the incorporation of wind turbines. It represents an overall effort to embrace the technologies that improve the quality of life and eschew those that compromise it. And, strangely close to Detroit, it might offer a vision of a hyper-local, post-automobile world, one that seems eerily unchanged by the apparition of cars."

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Published on Monday, May 11, 2009 in GOOD Magazine
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