I am often met with awestruck wonder when people learn I don’t have a car. After all, driving everywhere is the American way. There are too many explanations to keep a good party conversation going, so it boils down to cost and abundance of transportation options. But I don’t get too far before I’m assured I’ll buy a car eventually or I’m declared to be a quixotic car-hating lunatic.
In fact, it’s clear that cars have proven themselves to be far too useful in modern civilization to be reduced to a simple black and white issue. Calls to “ban all cars” do not promote useful dialogue or engender credibility.
For better or for worse, much of our national infrastructure is built on the utility of automobiles. It’s difficult to fight against the fact that most of my food arrives via the interstate highway system. Among many other purposes, vehicles take away my garbage, transport my plumber, deliver my books, and (hopefully never) put out my burning building. Beyond a massive paradigm shift and a complete reconstruction of the built environment, the basics of these arrangements will not change.
So, yes: I’m an urbanist who occasionally drives.