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Carfree, Carefree

Advocate Joel Crawford wants us to ditch the autos by Tim McCullough


he city of York, England predates

the car. With its design and architecture well-preserved, many of its narrow streets are touched only by the treads of bike tires and the soles of shoes. It was within the city’s center—where 2,000 years of history mesh with the present—that the ninth annual Towards Carfree Cities Conference took place. Over the course of six days, people shared their ideas for reducing car-dependency, while enjoying biking and walking tours of the city. American-born writer Joel Crawford was one of those people. ¶ “We may see a continuing economic decline, or it could be news about the environment that is going to force some very radical changes,” says Crawford, author of Carfree Cities. “We are going to need to look to the past to see the way to do things in the future.” 6


Crawford and other advocates see the car and its massive infrastructure as the source of many urban ills. They propose we build cities for people, not cars. To achieve this end, Crawford has authored two books and published 14 years worth of newsletters. “The conviction that urban cars and trucks are wrecking global ecosystems and destroying our communities finally drove me to develop a design for carfree cities,” he explains. From an American point of view, a city not built around cars is a strange thing. Even our urban centers with relatively extensive public transportation systems—like New York or Chicago—are slashed through with major highway systems that stamp out pedestrian street travel and encourage car-depen-

Dimple Records' In-Store Magazine, December 2010  
Dimple Records' In-Store Magazine, December 2010  

"Indie Rock with a Slice of Green." Cowbell Magazine features Cee Lo Green, Daft Punk, plus our lists of the top albums, games and dvds of t...