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Welcome to Our Carless Future | Architect Magazine

Aaron Betsky on Public Architecture and Urbanism’s proposal to ban private vehicles in Manhattan.

PAU PAU's proposal for a redesigned 46th St.
PAU PAU’s proposal for a redesigned 46th St.


It is a lovely fairy tale. Someday soon, Gotham will lose not only its soot, grime, and crime, but also its cars. In a post-COVID world, we will take clean buses and walk or bicycle around Manhattan, while the only private vehicles will be those making deliveries. Trees will sprout up to give us shade. Parks will wind along the edges of the island, connecting us all while accommodating rising sea levels. The Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges will become pedestrian and public transportation promenades. The air will continue to be as clear as it has been during the pandemic, and the stones and bricks of our building will shine in that crystalline air. Perhaps office blocks will turn into vast lofts able to accommodate our new work-at-home lives. Beyond the reaches of New York, the rest of the world will rediscover nature, wars will be a thing of a past, and we will live in a techno-boosted version of Eden.

A Biden regime will make this all possible with a plan that will make the New Deal look like amateur hour by investing billions in the environment, health, and education for all. We will rebuild our infrastructure—but this time for trains, human powered transportation, and perhaps electric vehicles. These are the visions that are now floating around the common spaces we have right now: the internet and social media. Such dreams are inspiring and necessary, but there is reason for caution: In countries that have recovered from the pandemic, it appears to be business as usual, with few signs of any structural changes. But, then again, most of those places were already well on their way to building some elements of this more just and sustainable future, while we seem to be moving backward.

PAU Park Ave. before
PAU Park Ave. before
PAU Park Ave. after
PAU Park Ave. after

The most concrete of the post-COVID proposals in this country is the one Public Architecture and Urbanism, working with Buro Happold, produced for the New York Times.

Read on >>>> Source: Architect Welcome to Our Carless Future | Architect Magazine

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