Allison Arieff Calls Out the Car

By Jeff Stein

Allison Arieff: you know, founder and past editor of DWELL magazine; currently editorial director for the urban planning and policy think tank, SPUR / San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association. She writes about architecture, design, cities and technology for the Opinion section of The New York Times. In the TIMES Sunday OCT 6 edition she points out that we need fewer cars, not smarter ones. See her article here:

“I used to think calling cars “death machines” was kind of extreme. Then my niece was hit by one.” She writes. “She was only 9 years old, out with her family in Los Angeles and running toward an ice cream truck. She was hit with such force that most of her front teeth were knocked out. She is lucky to be alive.

Thinking about my niece made me recall all the other times members of my family had been injured by cars. My husband’s grandmother was killed. My aunt and uncle were seriously injured. I was even involved in a hit-and-run in a crosswalk in front of my school when I was a kid and broke my leg. Most of us have stories like this — a car coming into our lives and unleashing horrendous damage on our loved ones, friends, family, and even ourselves.

Cars are death machines. Pedestrian fatalities in the United States have increased 41 percent since 2008; more than 6,000 pedestrians were killed in 2018 alone. More than 4,000 American kids are killed in car crashes every year – I am thankful every day my niece wasn’t one of them.” Including the drivers and their passengers themselves, of course, more than 40,000 people were killed by cars this past year.

But Arieff is focused on urban dwellers, people who aren’t car drivers themselves. Her solution: Rethink urban land use. Oh! That has been our solution, too, at Arcosanti, for the past 50 years. Let’s see what we can do with this idea in the next 50.

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