Talk:Car-free movement/"Anti-car organization" discussion

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Terminology: anti-car organizations[edit]

I think I will ask to have the category "anti-car organizations" deleted. I signed up with wikipedia because I couldn't overlook its inaccurateness and presentation of a point of view. I would like feedback.

The author of category "anti-car organizations", GCarty, declares "This category lists organizations devoted to opposing the use of cars, usually for environmentalist reasons. See also Carfree movement." GCarty lists "Alternative Transportation Movement", "Car-free movement", "Carfree Cities", "Critical Mass", "Reclaim the Streets", "Street party", "Transport 2000", and "World Naked Bike Ride". He or she also lists "Anti-road protestors" as a sub-category.

I'll begin with the general inaccurateness: First, GCarty misapplies the word "organization" to movements, to activities, and to individuals acting autonomously. Second, not every thing he lists as an "anti-car organization" devotes itself "to opposing the use of cars". In order to make his classification, GCarty assumes that an opposition to some automobile uses equates to some general opposition to automobile use. Many automobile-aware urbanists and environmentalists view the distinction between appropriate automobile use and inappropriate automobile use as important, if not fundamental.

At another level of inaccurateness, GCarty writes "usually for environmentalist reasons" instead of "usually for environmental reasons". He or she might have made a typo or might have intentionally tried to introduce his POV by implying a distinction between the reasons of people who call themselves environmentalists and justifications based on environmental facts.

The selection of entities for inclusion in this "anti" category seems to depend on the expression of a point of view rather than the stated or evident intent of those landed in the category. Bill Carr 19:57, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

  • Why on earth has this been given this highly partisan title "Car-free" movement which implies some sort of liberation from 'evil' cars? Clearly, this has been written by an anti-car zealot. The proper title for this article is obviously the more accurate and neutral descriptor "Anti-Car Organisations" --Corinthian 19:58, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
  • It may be a "partisan" name, but that's what the movement is called (and "anti-car organizations" makes it sound like a list). Google "car-free" and you get 2.6 million hits. Movements usually end up with names that resonate with those people in the movement. Similarly, we have Childfree to describe that group of people. bikeable (talk) 20:48, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Let me just put in my two bits here, based on long and I hope balanced experience in quite a few bits and pieces of this.

  • The car-free cities movement does in fact exist and has a long and indeed honorable history (you can see some of this in the timeline set out in Car Free days.
  • On these grounds I believe that it has its rightful place in the Wikipedia. (Indeed, if the WP is unable to provide full and proper coverage of these building blocks of our societies, no matter how conceptual and unfamiliar to many, then it will suffer greatly as a first-stop shop for information and perspective.)
  • And BTW, I think that the entry as it stands is a great start. We can do better of course, but it woudl be qa mistake to run away from this for reasons of personal prejudices or views. The issues are real. The movement is real.
  • There are a fair range of flavors in the CFC movement and its ancillaries, some of which deliberately "in your face", others more thoughtful.
  • All that said, I think it is fair to say that it has had little on-street impact up to now.
  • The reasons for this? Well, it's a coin toss, but one certainly is that there is a lot of noble thinking and nostalgia in the movement, but not much when it comes to the impacting on the policy interface in order to get the job done.
  • This may come from the basically negative, conflictual visions involved for the most part. All great stuff if you are a fairly comfortable lad or lass with parents who have always paid most of your bills, but if engineering change in a pluralistic democratic society is your game, other approaches are required.
  • I think that the day in which the CFC movement can get together with other concerned groups and currents in order to provide practical menus of step by step progress toward a "less car" agenda (as opposed to hermetically 'car free'), then we will have more than resentment and nostalgia to build on.

Finally a quick personal note: I appreciate these people and groups, though they often exasperate me by their hectoring and ineffectiveness, and I would much like to see them evolve into being part of the solution (in an always imperfect world). To this end, I shall go today to the "idea factory" of the [World Car Free Days] program and invite the 250 or so people from around the world who check into and contribute to this collective process (much like the WP in fact, though more pluralistically activist than encyclopedic balanced) and invite them to come in here and see how they might contribute to deepen this entry. (I have also warned them carefully about the rules of the game here and referred them to the key sections prior to getting their hands into this). We’ll see what that gives. ericbritton 10:27, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

I would also support having an entry for Carfree Movement. But I think the carfree movement has little to do with nostalgia, purity, or desire for confrontation. It's more about the recognition that cars have an overall negative impact (even when present in small numbers), that the "need" for cars can be eliminated through positive changes in infrastructure and urban form (reducing distances and making other modes more convenient), and that a car-lite environment does not provide the quality-of-life advantages of a carfree environment. But pragmatically speaking, I would like to have a car-lite environment and a carfree environment built side by side so that the public can judge which they prefer. Unless we arrive at that point and the carfree environment is found to be unpopular, we would be hasty to reject the carfree concept out of hand. And practically speaking, there are already quite a few carfree residential developments that have been successfully built in recent years. Also, I think the terms "carfree cities movement" and "carfree days movement" should not be used, as they just complicate things. The following is the definition of the carfree movement from the World Carfree Network website. I wrote it with input from others in the movement. You will see that it is very similar to the one on the Wikipedia page, meaning that someone did a cut, paste and modify:

Randall Ghent 15:10, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

What is the Carfree Movement?:

World Carfree Network uses the term "carfree movement" rather broadly, to refer to:

  • those promoting alternatives to car dependence and car culture, including alternative modes such as cycling, walking and public transport;
  • those promoting carfree lifestyle choices, within either a car-dependent, car-lite[1] or carfree local context;
  • those promoting the building of (usually mixed-use) carfree environments[2] on either brownfield or greenfield sites (usually sited to ensure easy access to a variety of non-automotive transport modes);
  • those promoting carfree days, using the events as tools to bring about long-term on-the-ground change in infrastructure and priorities (example: Bogota); and
  • those promoting the transformation of existing villages, towns and cities (or parts of them) into carfree environments.

1. Car-lite - Either a person or place that is not completely carfree, but uses or allows for a variety of alternative transport modes in addition to the car. (Car-lite environments tend to still devote at least half the street space to the automobile, with street widths usually similar to those in car-dependent environments.) The New Urbanists - an influential North American group of architects, developers and planners - are an example of people who promote and build car-lite environments, expressly stating that the automobile must be accommodated.

2. Carfree environments - Places that do not accommodate (permit the entry of) automobiles. (An "environment" can be a an entire village, town or city; a portion of a village, town or city; or a place such as a resort, intentional community or university.) Some carfree environments allow motorised vehicles for deliveries and emergency services; other such places use non-motorised alternatives for some or all of these purposes, which is preferable if feasible. Some carfree environments have peripheral parking, and are thus still somewhat car-dependent; therefore solutions should be sought to avoid this. Some people take things a step further and work to encourage local use of local products, thus reducing the dependence of their carfree environment on long-distance goods transport and supporting the local economy over the transnational economy.


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