- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Good Life

Found a fantastic article today about the island of Hydra in Greece.

The islands of Greece are some of the few remaining places in the world where you can experience modern life entirely free from cars. One widely held misconception is that modern life cannot exist without cars. Hydra and other places show us that this does not always need to be the case. Many towns and cities around the world shut a street or two on Sundays, or perhaps even for a month in Summer like in Paris, or have their town centres car free, but there is almost no-where in the world these days, where you can live and go about your business from morning to night without needing cars and without interruption from them - where even the roads are designed for pedestrians, not cars.

Particularly in the "new world" these days you would have to go climb a mountain, or go kayaking into the wilderness to experience an entire day without cars, but of course in the wilderness you have to go without running water, toilets, beds and many other things also. It is no surprise that we North Americans and Australians think that life without cars is somehow backward !! Hydra reminds us that it does not need to be this way.

Interestingly, the website (Project for Public Spaces) also mentions that the mayor of Paris has announced plans to pedestrianize the highways along the Seine, riding on the success of Paris Plage.

Good news all around.


Andy Sewina .. said...

Hi, love your blog - I was just thinking about Venice, the whole city is car free, but you'd hate it, it's also bike-free too!

Ryanoceros said...

Thanks Andy. Nice to see people are interested.

No. If a city like Venice can do without any cars whatsoever, then it can do without bicycles just fine also. Much as I love bicycles, I have to remind myself sometimes that I can use my two feet for walking also. In fact I love to walk or jog almost as much as I do cycle.