Thursday, July 15, 2010

Unfair Park's posting of an interview with Patrick "Car-Free" Kennedy generated some robust comments back and forth that sounded pretty defensive as they attacked Patrick's answers.

I threw in my two cents with a more philosophical approach and tried to be as empathetic-sounding as possible.

I really strive toward being positive and non-judgmental toward people who refuse to embrace living life without a car. Lots of people tell me they’re impressed and admire me for “standing up to the challenge.” They’ll admit that it’s a good thing to do, but just not them. Their lives are way too complicated to live life without a car. Mothers especially!

I bite my tongue and won’t get all preachy on them. I’ve learned that whenever someone says they “can’t do something,” what they’re really saying is the “don’t know how” to do something. So then the point becomes, whether or not someone is willing to learn…

Here’s what I wrote:

It's not whether or not someone doesn’t want to live a carless life; it's just that they don't know how. Anyone who says they can’t, they just don’t know how. Now, whether or not they want to learn…that’s another story.

There’s got to be less preaching and a lot more teaching! No matter how much infrastructure is put in place, the car culture cannot change overnight. If it gets crammed down anyone’s throats, they’ll react defensively and resist the concepts because they are holding on to cultural memories. Although…when gas prices do go up…you do see a lot more people starting to let loose of their cultural memories.

Seeing is believing: they cannot envision life without a car because that’s all they’ve ever known. It took more than 40 years for people – as well as the government – to embrace the fact that smoking is dangerous and take aggressive steps to erase its impact from our culture.

Living a carless life is a lifestyle that requires a designer to design that “style.” As the younger generation starts designing their lives around alternative dwellings and communities outside the suburban way of will become more mainstream.

The whole “less is more” approach to life is going to take a long time to take hold in our car culture. We’re talking status, comfort, convenience and safety…all of which are ‘perceived.’

It wouldn’t hurt to show how sexy a walkable city can be too!

No comments:

Post a Comment