Carfree Times

      Issue 70

13 June 2013     
Art as a Defense Against Graffiti
Open a larger image in a new window.
2013 J.H. Crawford


New Facebook Page

Miguel Barroso was kind enough to set up a new Facebook page for Carfree Cities. I had started one myself, but this seems to have turned into a personal page, so Miguel's nudge here should be quite useful. The new page has not really taken shape yet, and your suggestions as to both direction and content would be helpful. Please send mail regarding your thoughts or simply subscribe to the page and post.

European Trip

I recently returned from a trip to Lisbon, Setúbal (Portugal), Oslo, Stockholm, and Amsterdam. I gave talks in Lisbon, Oslo, and Stockholm to good audiences with lots of questions. I have the feeling that carfree cities is back on the world's agenda after a seeming five-year absence. I think people had other things to worry about after the financial crisis in 2008. In any case, it was gratifying to be giving talks again and having people listening.

Most photographs in this issue are of Setúbal, a large city in Portugal that I had never before visited. It's a real gem. Setúbal has a very large medieval district that is almost entirely car-lite or carfree. Except for the music blaring from outdoor loudspeakers in the shopping district, it's a truly great place. It has fallen somewhat on hard times these last few years. There are two more districts not quite as old that are both car-lite.


I shot lots of video in Portugal. Several new videos should come out of this footage in the coming months.

About 30 videos are now on line and have accumulated 27,000 total views. You can find them all here:

Vimeo (recommended)

YouTube (not all videos are here)

However, the best way to watch is probably to use my new Channel at Vimeo:


which allows me to present the newest and best videos first.

If you watch a video, please Like it by clicking the Heart icon in the top-right of the video frame (Vimeo) or clicking the Thumbs Up icon below the video (YouTube). Clicking Follow (Vimeo) or Subscribe (YouTube) will help a lot and will get you notifications of new videos.

Posting to your social network pages would also help. We need to get the message out to a broader audience. I know this is a bit of a nuisance, but it really does make a difference. The 20,000 views must become 20,000,000 views as quickly as possible. I need your help with this.


New: One Evening in Campo Santa Maria Nova, Venice


The Books

Carfree Cities and Carfree Design Manual are widely available in Europe and North America.

World Carfree Network actively supports World Carfree Network (WCN), which is currently almost in hibernation. Efforts continue to reinvigorate the network, which could use your help if you have some time.

World Carfree News

Publication of World Carfree News is temporarily suspended due to server problems. The most recent issue is November 2012.


Bairro Alto, Lisbon
A car-lite street in the Bairro Alto, Lisbon
2013 J.H. Crawford

News Bits

The links below will open in a new browser window (crtl + left-click to open in a new tab instead):

Thanks to all who suggested articles, in particular Piper Hollier, Dexter Jeannotte, Richard Risemberg, and Doug Salzmann.


Setubal, Portugal
The scenic overlook and trellis
Setúbal, Portugal
2013 J.H. Crawford

Big News

"Let's stop hiding behind recycling and be honest about consumption"

    George Monbiot talks about the elephant in the room: skyrocketing consumption. (Guardian)

"Revisiting Donald Appleyard's Livable Streets" Video

    "[W]e're revisiting Appleyard's work in . . . our series, 'Fixing the Great Mistake.' This video explores three studies in 'Livable Streets' that measured, for the first time, the effect of traffic on our social interactions and how we perceive our own homes and neighborhoods." It's good to see this seminal work back in the limelight. (Vimeo)

"Toward Resilient Architectures 1: Biology Lessons "

"Shopping is 45 percent of U.S. miles traveled, study finds"

    If this is correct, it's staggering. Local merchants can only compete against megastores if the true cost of driving is paid by shoppers, whether directly or indirectly. (Mother Nature Network)
Setubal, Portugal
Free-range kids
Setúbal, Portugal
2013 J.H. Crawford


"The Kids Really Are All Right"

    "The facts say children have never been safer. So why can’t we loosen the leash? Taking stock of parental anxiety on the 30th anniversary of National Missing Children’s Day." (Pacific Standard)

"Why It is Important to Have Children Living Downtown"

    "We have become so accustomed to the 20th century mantra that children need to grow up in suburbia that many would never consider raising a child downtown. Now we know inherent flaws in suburban planning . . . make suburbia unhealthy for children. It is time to reconsider raising children downtown." (International Making Cities Livable)

"New study links childhood asthma to living near traffic"

    "The latest study . . . looked at asthma levels in 10 European cities and found that people living near high-traffic roads accounted for 14 percent of all asthma cases. [T]his is the first study that concludes the number of cases of asthma in these cities would have been lower if the residents had not been exposed to pollution from road traffic." (Mother Nature Network)
Setubal, Portugal
Setúbal, Portugal
2013 J.H. Crawford

Carfree Progress

"Making Our Communities More Liveable: Examples from Germany and Scandinavia"

    Examples of improved urban areas from northern Europe. Worth looking at just for the many photographs. (Sustainable Cities Collective)

"Let's Build A Traditional City (And Make A Profit)"

    This is a long and richly illustrated blog post about the virtues of traditional urban areas and narrow streets. He considers in some detail the failings of the New Urbanism. The economic advantages of traditional development are discussed. This is all in the context of an airport redevelopment opportunity in Arkansas. (Andrew Alexander Price)

"What happened to a place in Michigan when cars were banned for 115 years?"

    Mackinac Island, Michigan is a carfree tourist destination in the Straits of Mackinac, between Lakes Michigan and Huron. (Bike Delaware)

"'Urban village' Bay Meadows takes shape"

    A TOD-based 83-acre development south of San Francisco is an apparent success. (SF Gate)
Setubal, Portugal
Setúbal, Portugal
2013 J.H. Crawford

Urban Planning

"The Coming Bold Transformation of the American City"

    "In 40 years, 2.7 billion more people will live in world cities than do now. . . . Urban growth in China, India, and most of the developing world will be massive. But what is less known is that population growth will also be enormous in the United States." Density, sustainability, and cars. (Atlantic Cities)

"Does the Post Office Deliver in Today’s Urban Culture" PDF!

    "The postal service has been ravaged by enormous deficits and massive layoffs. It will inevitably see the closing of thousands of buildings. Planners have taken notice. Countless journalists have lamented the loss of post-office buildings, praised their often remarkable architecture and called for pressure to save them. These buildings are catalysts of 'community'. . . ." (Paper by Fanis Grammenos)

"Are Satellite Cities the Key to the Future?"

    "From a land use perspective, satellite cities and urban infill development are the best ways to accommodate population growth while preserving open space and farmland. The alternative is urban sprawl." Or, of course, carfree cities, which free up about one-third of a city's land. (Atlantic Cities)

"Measuring the Street: New Metrics for 21st Century Streets" PDF!

    Tweaking as the solution to all our problems. (New York City)

"A Streetcorner Serenade for the Public Plaza"

    A new, pathetically small square, surrounded by traffic, is hailed as a great improvement. It probably is, but there's a very long way to go. (NY Times)

"A New Court Ruling Could Have Big Implications in the Fight Against Sprawl"

    "[T]he Federal Highway Administration and Wisconsin Department of Transportation cannot enlarge a major urban freeway connection without further study of the project's impacts on transit-dependent populations and on regional suburban sprawl." This is not a final ruling but suggests that major changes in US transit policy lie ahead. (Atlantic Cities)

"PermaCities, the game of permaculture and urban design"

    This is under development and it's not yet clear where it is headed, but some sort of simulation game has been in my mind for years. Let's hope this is it, since I hate to program.


Setubal, Portugal
Setúbal, Portugal
2013 J.H. Crawford


"Walkable streets: Considering common issues"

    Design for lower, not higher, speeds is starting to take hold. Even though it's by no means carfree, if this approach is widely implemented, traffic speeds will fall and pedestrian fatalities will decline significantly. It's not the solution, but it's a step along the way. (Better Cities & Towns)

"Transport U: Colleges Save Millions By Embracing Policies to Reduce Driving"

    "Jeffrey Tumlin was managing transportation programs at Stanford in the mid-1990s when he made an important finding: It was cheaper for the university to pay people not to drive than to build new parking structures. Offering employees just $90 a year not to drive to campus was enough to entice many of them to use transit, carpools, or bicycles." By contrast, the annual cost for spaces can run as high as $4000. (DC Streets Blog)

"D.C. Considering Lifting Mandatory Parking Minimums"

    If DC follows through and really does eliminate parking minimums, this would be a radical change that would have huge effects on real estate development in the capital. We could expect a large increase in the share of non-motorized transport modes. (WNYC)

"Train buff’s dreams streetcar desire will become reality"

    "A transit buff’s quixotic two-decade-long quest to connect transit-strapped Red Hook to Downtown by trolley is really going to happen this time, the railway-loving legend claimed this week." Streetcars (trams) are going to be an important tool in improving transit in existing cities. This could be a significant test. (Brooklyn Paper)

"Amsterdam Verkeerd" Video

    This is footage from a bike camera that shows Amsterdam in a less favorable light than usual. The title is a play on the words "verkeer" (traffic) and "verkeerd" (wrong). (Arin Verner on YouTube)

"Study: LRT ridership gains are spectacular"

    Yeah, duh. "Nobody with a choice ever took a bus anywhere," quoting myself. Any questions? (Railway Age)
Setubal, Portugal
Setúbal, Portugal
2013 J.H. Crawford


"The one chart about oil's future everyone should see"

    I can't make up my mind. Some days I decide to ignore petroleum shortages and focus on carbon emissions. After seeing this, though, it looks like shortages loom and may indeed become an important force in the acceptance of carfree cities. (Resource Insights)

"Shale Game"

    "The industry group, Natural Gas Alliance, claimed the gas was going to flow for 100 years. But is it? Two new and significant papers related to the finances of gas drilling and natural gas suggest the natural gas boom will not be here for anything like that long." Fracking may be the next big bubble. (Forth Worth Weekly)

"Solar Dreams, Spanish Realities"

    The trials and tribulations of Spanish solar power efforts. The worst news: EROI for solar in Spain is only 2.4:1. (Resilience)

"Why can't we quit fossil fuels?"

    "Despite the clean technology of the past decade, we continue to extract and burn fossil fuels more than ever before" (Guardian)

"Firms 'own unburnable fossil fuels'"

    "Some 60% to 80% of fossil fuel reserves owned by listed firms could be classed as unburnable if politicians stick to CO2 emission limits, a report warns." No signs of backbone in any politicians I know of. Well, except Al Gore. (BBC)

"Ignition Failed: How America’s latest attempt at fusion power fizzled"

    "To be viable, a fusion power plant would need to generate more energy than it consumed. Yet except in nuclear weapons, scientists have never produced a fusion reaction that does that." It's been 60 years now. (Science News)
Setubal, Portugal
Car-lite in the medieval quarter
Setúbal, Portugal
2013 J.H. Crawford

Climate Change

"Earth Hurtling Towards Temperatures Not Seen in 11,000 Years"

    "New study shows global temperatures skyrocketed in last century." (Common Dreams)

"In Sign of Warming, 1,600 Years of Ice in Andes Melted in 25 Years"

    "Glacial ice in the Peruvian Andes that took at least 1,600 years to form has melted in just 25 years. . . . The evidence comes from a remarkable find at the margins of the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru, the world’s largest tropical ice sheet. Rapid melting there in the modern era is uncovering plants that were locked in a deep freeze when the glacier advanced many thousands of years ago." (NY Times)

"Looking for Last Decade's Missing Warmth? It's in the Ocean"

    "Despite the fact that humans keep pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, in the last decade the Earth has not warmed as much as scientists might expect. While climate change skeptics tend to trumpet this fact as evidence that the Earth is not warming, researchers know that more heat is being trapped in the Earth's systems." It's in the upper 700 meters of the oceans. (

"Warmest Summers in Last Two Decades in Northern Latitudes Were Unprecedented in Six Centuries"

    The title says it all. (Science Daily)

"Carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012, IEA report says"

    "Global emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use rose 1.4 percent to 31.6 gigatons in 2012, setting a record and putting the planet on course for temperature increases well above international climate goals, the International Energy Agency said." How many more record-setting weather events is it going to take to make people believe climate change is real and that real action must be taken? (Washington Post)

"Earth More Sensitive to Carbon Dioxide Than Previously Thought"

    "In the long term, the Earth's temperature may be 30-50% more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide than has previously been estimated, reports a new study published in Nature Geoscience." (Science Daily)

"Large rise in CO2 emissions sounds climate change alarm"

    2012 showed the second-largest increase in CO2 concentration. Recently, it was also reported that we had crossed the 400 PPM threshold, which is 50 PPM above the "safe" limit. In reality, though, even the "safe" limit is not very safe. (Guardian)

"Profits on Carbon Credits Drive Output of a Harmful Gas"

    Another case of an unintended effect making things worse, not better. Manipulations in the carbon credit market have led to increases in the manufacture of refrigerant gases. It's complex, but it's a mess. (NY Times)


Lisbon Tree Place
Tree Place (Alexander's Pattern 171)
2013 J.H. Crawford

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