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How to Marginalize the Automobile

In a column for Fast Forward Weekly, Steven Snell explores the complexities in lessening the domestication of the automobile and its perceived necessity in our day-to-day lives.
November 21, 2014, 12pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Art Konovalov

Snell begins the column by noting that our automotive-oriented towns and lives are not natural or innate. However, "[we] must go places, and the sprawling places we inhabit tend to demand transportation beyond our own bipedalism. Thus the point-to-point convenience of driving is hard to sway."

Because of the deeply entrenched complexities of society's relationship with automobiles of even the recent fad of "self-professed car freedom...doesn’t get us very far, except maybe contributing material for our social media feeds. True change to mitigate the colossal damage the private automobile has induced — environmentally and socially — requires actions beyond simply selling your car. It’s a complex system with numerous connections."

Snell's response alludes to rhetoric by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm and landscape architect James Corner.

In sharing the article with Planetizen, Snell prefaced the column for Fast Forward Weekly by sharing an overview by Brad Plumer on why Americans are driving less:

  • The cost of driving has gone up
  • The recession
  • It's harder to get a license
  • More younger people are living in transit-oriented areas
  • Technology is making it easier to go car-free
  • Rising auto-insurance rates
Full Story:
Published on Thursday, October 16, 2014 in Fast Forward Weekly
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