"There’s this recycled myth that L.A. was built around the car... Empirically, it’s just not true. The vast majority was built around streetcar lines, the most extensive rail system in the world." ... "This vision of L.A. as the freeway capital of the world is only a small piece of what L.A. really represents... It has great bones. It has fantastic neighborhoods, many of them built at a time when designing was really for walkability." In their view, building the freeways was the great experiment, the imported philosophy, the reshaping. And it never really worked. Traffic and air pollution pushed the city to reorganize its transportation future around a heavy rail system, which opened in 1990 and continues to expand... “We’re trying to unearth that original blueprint” ... "Younger people have decided not to own cars, take public transit, and be generally part of the solution rather than the problem."Many of these themes resonate for me quite strongly. I agree that a generation of young people treated as trash have noticed that they don't need the hassle of the cars their parents purchased to pretend they were rugged romantic individualists with, just as they have also noticed that their parents and their cars treated the planet like trash too, the only planet they and we all have to live on. An underwater railroad to a sustainable tomorrow is coming into view, with a tide-turning re-orientation of public policy priorities with this rising generation to zoning for walkable cities and the connection of rural lifeways to sustainable mass transit with private cars as the exception and not the rule.
When it comes to it, Car Culture was just one more catastrophically failed futurological experiment in elite-incumbent fraud, like the phony redemptive fantasy after Hiroshima of nuclear energy too cheap to meter. Car Culture crammed Molloch's maw with once thriving liveable walkable city neighborhoods, all to feed the military industrial complex with which America ended the Depression and won its war (and for nearly half a century the spoils of a world we spoiled).
Just as atomic age helices and sparkles and on the kitchen curtains and chrome starbursts on the floorlamps could not turn the frown of Hiroshima upside down... nor could the green counterrevolutionary con of industrial monoculture with its petrochemical soopertractors, fertilizers, and pesticides hide its unsustainable soil and aquifer depletion, lack of resilience and diminishing yields... nor could rainbow-brite petro-plastic tupperware super-abundance hide the crap of the container or the crap it contained or the landfills that swelled to conceal them... nor could the irrational exuberance in Robert Moses' paeans to frictionless traffic flow conceal the white racist flight, the demolished communities, the congestion, the smog, the road rage...
All these phony futurologies set the stage for the neoliberal dematerialization materialized in digital-divides, deregulatory frauds, and white flight from shared governance to frowny-faced Nixonian and smiley-faced Reaganomic retro-futurism. Let us hope that with the refusal of the collective hallucination of Car Culture, perhaps just in the nick of time, we can turn from the delusive reactionary fantasies of The Future to the necessary sustainable problem-solving through shared good democratic governance in planetary polyculture, in the futurity of the present opened up by the ineradicable diversity of the stakeholders who share in the living in it and making of it.