Saturday, September 2, 2017

Unwalkable cities

This is an article about Jakarta, Indonesia and how unfriendly it is for pedestrians.  I have been in a few cities myself that are shockingly, even aggressively, anti-pedestrian, with poor sidewalks, gleaming streets, countless overpasses and other structures that facilitate life for drivers and make it harder for walkers.  This type of car-dependent urban planning is troubling anywhere, but at least in the US, where there is widespread car ownership, it can be said to appeal to the masses.  But in developing countries where car ownership is relatively limited, this car-focused development is especially bad, because it represents an explicit opting for the interests of the wealthy few.  Granted, the rest of people adjust to the prevailing conditions, building their lives around motor vehicles (motorcycles for the better-off, buses and shared taxis for the rest), to the point that even the poor come to "prefer" the car-centered way of doing things.  But in the end it's bad for everyone.

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