Bicyclecity promotes an unusual community - unusual by the standards of people born in our society in the last 100 years, at least. No cars. No trucks. Nothing with an internal combustion engine will be permitted past this proposed city limits. The premise is something that seems strange to people who have lived by the car, but is starting to get more attention, especially now, when gas prices are significantly rising and obesity levels are starting to show significant impact on the overall health of North American society.
The car free city is not just built with the idea that once there are no cars, everything will be fine. Plans are in motion to build homes and business buildings with ecologically friendly and energy efficient materials. Home styles range from densely constructed apartments in the inner city to modest single-family homes farther out. No McMansions here. . . these homes will be conservative in space and the resources they require to provide people with heat, light and power.
The layouts proposed for this community differ in details but are all roughly circular - with “spokes" that allow residents farther away from the city center direct access. There will be an emphasis on public green space. For those who wish to have or need cars to access the world beyond the city, specially designed car parks are being proposed on the outskirts of the community. Outside the city limits, organic farms would provide the city with fresh fruits, vegetables and animal products.
Proponents of this kind of community cite the pollution caused by automobiles, the space automobiles take up within a city and the danger to life and limb caused by automobile accidents. No automobiles is one solution for obesity and health problems related to lack of exercise - if one wants to go anywhere in a car free city, one must walk, bike or take public transportation. The high expenses of a car could be mostly or completely avoided by the close proximity of work and play.
There are challenges to be met in the car free city. The ban on automobiles can create difficulties with transportation of heavy/dangerous goods and access to transportation for the handicapped. Most people do not object to exemptions for emergency vehicles, but when it comes to personal vehicles for the elderly, injured, or infirm, the line becomes fuzzy. Some people believe that there should only be electric or other alternative fuel-powered vehicles allowed anywhere in the city. Non fossil-fueled public transport is being proposed to solve most of the transportation issues.
The car free city has, so far, been only a consideration. In the face of the changes society will need to make in order to meet the needs of its population, though, this kind of community may not be too far away.
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