Should Cars Be Banned

There has been a lot of talk about rewilding and regenerative farming practices in recent years, as people recognize the importance of restoring wildlife and biodiversity. This focus on the environment has mainly been targeted at the countryside, but what about our cities?

Cities used to be vibrant and diverse places, where streets served multiple purposes like work, trade, play, and transportation. Rebecca Solnit beautifully captures this sentiment in her book Wanderlust, stating that cities revolved around citizenship and participation in public life. However, over the past century, our city streets have been transformed to prioritize one goal: moving people around quickly, unimpeded by any other activities. This shift has come at a cost, with our shared urban environments now dominated by cars.

Take the Netherlands, for example. It is known as the cycling capital of the world, yet there are almost as many parking spaces as there are people in the country. These parking spaces take up more room than the entire surface area of Amsterdam. While cycling lanes and bicycle parking exist, they have still reduced our streets to a single purpose: transportation. We have unwittingly turned our cities into monocultures.

This development was not inevitable. When cars first flooded cities in the 20th century, public opinion dictated that cars should adapt to the existing system, prioritizing pedestrians. However, within a short span of time, the narrative shifted, and cities began adapting to accommodate cars. Streets became pipelines for fast-moving traffic, and pedestrians were relegated to the pavement. The transformation to how our cities operate today had begun.

But is there another way? Some cities are starting to embrace the idea of “rewilding” their public spaces. Barcelona, for instance, is reclaiming its streets from traffic and democratizing its public space by including urban patios and parks. Cars are still allowed, but they are just one aspect of public space, not the sole reason for its existence. Similarly, Groningen in the Netherlands has adopted guidelines stating that streets should serve multiple purposes, such as better health, cultural history preservation, and climate adaptation.

Paris has taken a step further with its 15-minute city plan. The aim is to create self-sufficient communities where everything one needs is within a 15-minute walk or cycle. While these efforts are commendable, perhaps an even more radical change is needed. What if we completely banned cars from cities?

Some cities have already implemented temporary car bans with great success, such as during car-free days or for special occasions like marathons or street parties. In Utrecht, a canal that had been filled in to make way for a motorway in the 1970s was recently restored, delighting local residents. The return of the canal created a beautiful connection to various urban functions, including a station, a pop stage, a theater, and green spaces.

There are also cities that have always been car-free, like Venice, which is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world. With the rising cost of petrol, growing environmental awareness, and increasing parking costs and congestion charges, now is the time to find a better way. Imagine looking out of your window and seeing a communal vegetable garden, a shared barbecue, a play area for children, and wildflowers attracting insects. Different forms of transportation, like electric cars, could still exist, but mobility would no longer take precedence. The city would regain its natural ecosystem and become a social hub once again.

It’s time to rethink the way we use our cities and break free from the dominance of cars. By banning cars and embracing alternative modes of transportation, we can restore our cities to their former glory as vibrant, diverse, and socially engaging spaces.

Further reading:

Related Posts

Are Cars Ac Or Dc

Hey there, my besties! Have you ever wondered if cars run on AC (Alternating Current) or DC (Direct Current) power? Well, let me spill the beans for…

Do Cars Emit Carbon Monoxide

People often confuse carbon monoxide (CO) with carbon dioxide (CO2). Both gases have similar names and both are potentially harmful. Yet there are clear differences you should…

How Cars Keep You Poor

The allure of a brand-new car, with its advanced features and that unmistakable new car smell, is undeniable. But what if that symbol of success is quietly…

Whose Cars Are At The Lorraine Motel

The Lorraine Motel, located at 450 Mulberry Street in downtown Memphis, is more than just a place to stay. Steeped in history and woven into the fabric…

Do Cars Have Black Boxes

Have you ever heard of a black box? Typically associated with airplanes, this device records crucial information after a crash. But what about cars? Do cars have…

Second Hand Cars Uk

How we help you buy used cars with confidence Used cars can often offer better value for money than new ones, which can lose 40% of their…