Last summer, I tweeted out this meandering thread:
It started as an observation on how, in most cities, we balk at the idea of free transit but barely bat an eye at the reality of free parking. The thread continued on to explore the psychology that informed this sentiment; it was inspired by years of contemplating (and being frustrated by) the absurdity of car culture. Car culture can be simply defined as the conscious and unconscious ways in which we, individually and as a society, shape our lives around the automobile. One way car culture manifests is in how we build our cities. You can see it in the space and resources allocated to cars.
I think about car culture every day. It’s hard not to when you’re constantly confronted by it, whether it’s having to press a beg button to get permission to cross the street, or having to ride a bike on a dangerous road with no separated cycling infrastructure.
I’ve been an advocate, speaking out against car culture, for a long time. I’ve sat on city committees. I’ve met with city staff. I’ve emailed politicians. I’ve met with politicians. I’ve debated media personalities on live air. I’ve blogged. I’ve tweeted. And, to be honest, I’m tired. I’ve come to realize that if we want to make our advocacy sustainable, we need to reframe the challenge of car culture in order to make the most of our efforts and properly address it.
We need to recognize we are addicted to cars.
As a former mental health clinician, I don’t use the term “addiction” lightly, and I don’t mean to undermine the seriousness of the issue. I am not suggesting that everyone who drives a car has a diagnosable addiction, but rather, I aim to use the metaphor of addiction to illuminate our societal dependence on the automobile. I believe this conceptualization can help us focus efforts and better understand the challenge we face.
I’ve had my own issues with unconscious dependence on the automobile. It was part of the tangled mess of developing an identity as a teenager and feeling accepted in high school.
We Are Addicted To Cars – Robin Mazumder
Posted on February 15, 2020 by Robin in Addiction, healthy cities Last summer, I tweeted out this meandering thread: It started as an observation on how, in most cities, we balk at the idea of free transit but barely bat an eye at the reality of free parking. The thread continued on to explore the… [Read More]