Why Can't Our Cities Look Like This?

It's Not Just History and Geography.

Why Can't Our Cities Look Like This?

(It’s the parking. And I promise I won’t say…Stupid!)

It’s a question I’ve often asked myself after coming back from trips abroad. So many cities in Europe and Asia seem to have large areas where automobile traffic has been tamed. Where a passeggiata, or an evening stroll along a rambla, or a chat in the plaza, is a daily ritual. Or, as I wrote in last week’s dispatch about Tokyo, where kids and cats seemed to have free run of entire neighborhoods.

The easy response is: “Well, Old World cities are different.” Many have medieval centers, which were never designed for cars. Cities in the Americas, according to this rationale, are simply newer. They were built for automobile traffic.

Subscribe for weekly Straphanger dispatches