06 Ago The Jetsons Were Wrong: The Future Is Motorless
There was a time when owning and driving a car was an undeniable sign of success, comfort and social status. This has been one of the most expensive symbolic norms for humankind. The use and abuse of cars have caused tremendous damage on many levels: from pollution to |inequality and space occupation, it’s time to claim everything that the automobile culture has taken away from us.
Many of the greatest diseases that big cities suffer from are related to cars. These vehicles have turned into an unbearable paradox: while more people own and use one in order to be able to move easily, it becomes more difficult for everyone to actually go from one place to another. Big cities seem to even collapse at peak hours because there are simply too many car drivers trying to carry on their daily routines.
One of the main obstacles in the way towards carless cities is the apparent impossibility for a modern city life that this idea presents. However, many cities have managed to gradually reduce the presence of motorized vehicles in the streets, thus allowing pedestrians and bikers to move freely and safely.
For example, Hamburg is implementing policies that prioritize walking and biking by completely banning cars from certain zones. This will be possible thanks to the gruenes netz or “green network”, which consists of spaces that are connected and accessible without the need of cars. This network will cover almost half of the city.
Copenhagen is another great example of sustainable mobility. Since its historic effort to prioritize exclusive zones for pedestrians back in the sixties, this city has taken valuable steps towards the decrease of car presence in the streets. Now they even count with an extensive and modern network of lanes and highways for bikes, which echoes in a reduction of car ownership within the city’s population.
The configuration of most cities as we know it perpetuates inequality in an outrageous way. Even though most people do not own nor drive a car, roads are made for drivers and everyone else is expected to adjust. The land distribution is undeniably unfair. People have the right to inhabit their cities in equality and freedom, and this can only be achieved if car privilege is restrained.
This goal requires an articulated effort of government, private industries and population. The configuration of public space must change in order to allow easier, safer and more efficient mobility for non-drivers. When we manage to get rid of most cars, all the other forms of transportation become better alternatives. It’s time to think beyond cars and to start reimagining cities for the people and for the future. The healthier our cities become today, the better future we can expect for ourselves and generations to come.
to reflect on their origins and development in order to imagine solutions for the current global crisis we’re suffering. There’s a lot to learn from our architectural history, let’s never neglect it.
- Farhad Manjoo, “I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing”, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/09/opinion/sunday/ban-cars-manhattan-cities.html
- Vitaliy Soloviy, “London leads the way towards a future without cars”, Sustainability Times, https://www.sustainability-times.com/clean-cities/london-leads-the-way-towards-a-future-without-cars/
- Nico Muzi, “Less (cars) is more: how to go from new to sustainable mobility”, Transport Environment,
- 10 cities that are starting to go car-free, Business Insider,