In a sea of cars

There are more than a billion cars on our planet (2019), and the number of vehicles keep growing, even though cars look less and less like the answer to many of the both local and global challenges we face today.

Thoughts on why we need to create walkable cities instead of using cars more and more

Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt,

Many of the challenges we face today, from pollution, to climate change, to community collapse, to health problems and lack of exercise, to loss and fragmentation of nature, can all be seen as an either direct or close associated consequence of our dependence of using cars instead of our legs to move around

In areas around the large cities and even in the center of many of our urban cores, walking is not an option. The distance to what matters has simply been stretched too much, and the routes to the shops, the relatives, schools and workplaces are so dangerous to walk that almost nobody do it.

But there is a well-tested and slowly growing awareness of an alternative to the logic of cars… and it is very simple. It is walking.

When we design trails, sidewalks and green corridors in the city and, instead of driving, connects the city center, the suburbs and local nature by paths the car flood can be reversed.

When we start to design for walking instead of driving something magical happens: thrive, health and community groups get a boost, local shops re-open and people start to care and relate to each other and to their local place.

The crazy thing is that different from the challenges of sea level rise, biodiversity loss and climate change, we can more easily reverse the flow of cars as it is a direct consequence of the choice most of us make each day

Illustration of a woman with two kids sitting on a roof of a house, surrounded by a sea of cars in all directions. Drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt
Cars are today looking more and more like the problem, and less and less like the solution

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