- 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.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

GM and Chrysler consider bankruptcy to get bailout

Reuters article HERE. I still don't get it. How does declaring bankruptcy entitle them to taxpayer money? Bollocks. How can they spend millions on advertising and still go cap in hand to the government with a straight face? I would hazard a guess that without that advertising demand for autos would fall to their natural "real" level - i.e. one that cannot sustain so many car companies.

No. You have to give them credit for persistence, but hang in there senators. Don't give in to the threats. There is a better way. For example, liquidate and help the workers and communities as they find new occupations and develop new - sustainable economies.

Because, as well all now know (and probably have known or suspected for the last 40 years or more) auto-society is not sustainable. It is not even desirable.

Even Devine, the condominium builder in far off Queensland Australia has realized that the new future is one of localized, mixed-use, walkable, safe, quiet, socially strong communities with good public transport. And that is one where the cars are mostly left in a big ugly building in the corner of the site and only used occassionally.

There is a very limited future for any auto maker - US or Japanese or otherwise, in this world. The price of oil may be down, but Hummers are just as un-cool as they have become lately. This will not change - even if the advertising (taxpayer funded or otherwise) continues.

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