What We Mean When We Say Car Free

On Cars and Place and Carfree Places

This is a work in progress. For now, just text (boring!) Please come back when I upload the graphics!

    My computer crashed and I lost all the photos. Let that be a lesson to you about backing up!

By Jacob Allderdice,
Master of Urban Design Program
Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design
University of Toronto

Course of Independent Study:
Professor Paul Hess, advisor
Faculty of Geography and Planning
University of Toronto

Table of Contents:


What are carfree places?

No “Place” without “Car”

List of Observations
1. The carfree place is a tool
2. The carfree place is freighted with significance
3. We need carfree places in cities
4. The carfree lifestyle brings us freedom
5. Carfree people subsidise the services car drivers require
6. Carfree places are not the only way to enhance carfree choices
7. Carfree places can free us of car dependence
8. Designing a carfree place
9. Carfree (and car-lite) lifestyles
10. The economy of a carfree place
11. Actual carfree places in Toronto
a) The Island
b) The Garden Apartment
c) The Prewar Apartment Building
d) The Mainstreet Walkup
e) The Courtyard
f) The Terrace
g) The Housing Estate

Conclusion: What ought carfree places be?
Annotated Bibliography

Note: All illustrations (photographs and diagrams) are by the author except the following:
· Photo of Radburn children (frontispiece)
· Photo of NYC postwar apartment building (p. 38)
· Plan Radburn (p. 29)
· Plan Toronto Island (p. 33)
· Plan Bain Co-op (p. 44)

1. Introduction:

This paper was spurred by a comment from a sophisticated Toronto urban designer, the teacher of a course on “Case Studies in Urban Design.” He dismissed my reference to the Toronto Island Residential Community (comprising Ward’s and Algonquin Islands) as “carfree” by saying: “They’re not carfree. All the people who live there own cars. They just park them on the mainland.”

Up to that point, I had considered the islands as carfree by dint of one simple truth: you can’t drive there. The urban designer challenged this with the fact that although the place may be “carfree,” the people who live there are not, necessarily.

In his dismissive response was buried, I believe, an attitude of guarded resentment many feel toward the notion of carfree places. It posits, in a nutshell, that to be carfree one has to be rich, or “special,” or poor. “Ordinary” people like cars, and need them. Only the upper class can afford to eschew cars willfully. Only the upper class would presume to encourage others to “divorce your car.” As Eric Laurier puts it, “…I mean the class-cloven nature of opposition to the growth in car use. I cite the case of Prince Charles who while vigorously supporting pedestrianisation, villagification and the principles of ecology, drives a four and half litre Austin Martin. Or the architect Richard Rogers, who has recently been lecturing on sustainable cities and the dangers of the car even though he drives a two litre Rover. ”

Nonetheless, after reflection on the urbane designer’s comment, a seed of doubt was planted: what are we talking about when we talk about carfree places? This paper is a project of working toward that definition.

2. What are carfree places?

If I say they are places where not owning a car is the norm, that would include the island of Manhattan, where 78% of households don’t own cars. Is Manhattan a carfree community? I wouldn’t argue that.

If I say they are places where not owning a car is a smarter choice than owning one, I’ve already accepted the status quo that says owning a car can sometimes be “smart,” an acceptance all rational evidence suggests would be ill-informed.

If I say they are places where you can live, but you can’t drive, I’m including not only the Toronto Islands, but every house or apartment building or condominium development ever built. Obviously, nobody drives where they live.

If I say they are places where a carfree lifestyle is supported, this gets closer, but on inspection again includes cities like Toronto or Manhattan or other obviously car-filled places.

3. No “Place” without “Car”

Ultimately, perhaps the urban designer was right. Perhaps there are no carfree places, insofar as we (in the modern world) all live in “auto-space” (as the authors of Ecology of the Automobile call modern society). It may be that the issue comes back to the invisible, inescapable forces of capitalism, of which the car is merely a ‘presentification.’ This is the argument of Lieven de Cauter, whose essay “The Capsular City” describes a metropolis effectively plundered of wealth by the lines of force (i.e. road networks) connecting the “Disneyfied” centre to the “Bronxified” periphery, requiring a “militarized” boundary between rich and poor, and “capsules” to shuttle wealth (if not people) across that boundary. Those capsules are cars, in the elemental version, but if “lines of force” are taken as other kinds of networks, the capsules are also computer hardware, television sets—even books.

Even books! This last argument, devastating as it is, implies that (as the global hamburger advertisement tells us) “Resistance is Futile.” No culture without capital. It welcomes the sophistry of the noted urban designer, against common sense, that “carfree place” is an oxymoron: no “place” without “car.”

Place in the modern world carries with it invisible baggage: the hegemony of the automobile. It carries the frightening thought that only in Disneyland, or Venice, (if there is a difference) is “carfree” an option: or worse, that any new Venice (or Ward’s Island) is only possible in Disneyland: an exercise in nostalgia, with militarized lines drawn tight around (and a parking lot just beyond the moat).

It is for this reason, I think, that sophisticated people, like the urban designer who provoked this discussion, are wary of the term “carfree places.” They see in the term a class-based divide, and worse: an inevitable nostalgia.

For me, this wariness marks one blind spot of all sophisticates, whatever our stripe. We say nostalgia as if it’s a bad thing. As Peter Frische puts it, “There is a striking consistency in scholarly appraisals of nostalgia.” And “Even the most casual references treat nostalgia as a kind of blindness.”

Nostalgia—from nostos, Greek for “homecoming,” and algos, “pain, grief, distress,” describes a specifically modern illness, like schizophrenia. The word “nostalgia” was coined by a physician in 1688 to describe Swiss soldiers serving abroad. As Frische relates it: “Fixated on a single idea, ‘the desire to return,’ [the] stricken Swiss men had become indifferent and infirm, refused food and water, and even collapsed and died. In effect, they screened out the world around them.”

Frische quotes Adrienne Riche [oops; that’s “Rich” –ed.] saying “nostalgia is only amnesia turned around:” a kind of inability to forget.

To sophisticated people there is no crime worse than that of nostalgia. Nostalgia implies that there could be a better place, a better time, than the ephemeral point in space and time in which we find ourselves. It implies the Modern Project is misguided, that inequity and poverty in the world is growing, that energy is finite, and that it might be possible to track a different course into the future by reconfiguring the present. Nostalgia is a word they use to banish challenges to the status quo, which says “change” is only allowed only as it is guided by the forces of modernization, within the context of promises made by the Modern Project. Nostalgia evokes utopia, and on this subject the minds of sophisticated people are made up.

Is the Modern Project not a utopia? Of course it is. “Utopia,” Thomas More’s coinage, is not just ou-topos, or “no-place,” but also eu-topos, “happy place.” According to Carroll William Westfal, this non-place that is a happy place is specifically the City. It is the imaginary ideal to which all cities aspire: the “best” city, the polis. “The actual city we live in is the best imitation we can make of that city.”

The Modern Project is the utopia sophisticated (that is, “un-nostalgic,” “progressive,” “realistic,” or, in a word, “modern”) people agree we can live with. Nevermind Robert Moses cleaving Marshall Berman’s Bronx with a “meat ax” in the name of the modern. Nevermind the terror wielded by the forces of capital, that make empty the spaces for the Modern Project to be built. Nevermind Tony Fry’s warning: “Utopias effectively cut the idea adrift, they de-relationalize and they refuse process in process: utopias impose the myopia of an unreflective relation to the process of change. In their drive to build on a cleared material and metaphysical ground, they invite violence. Historically, utopian grand schemes reveal themselves as directional impositions that have functioned without ecological accountability. Utopias are crisis in the crisis of crisis: they construct images and desires that obstruct what demands to be seen, heard, felt, understood, critically selected and conceived. ”

In the end, I reckon the forces I am up against are those that drove Ted Kaczinski into the woods of Montana. And if anyone ever demonstrated that the global hamburger enterprise will win in the end, it was the Unabomber. Resistance is futile.

Carfree place? Could there be such an animal?

Remember Jose Bove? He used a farm tractor, not a bomb or a meat ax, to drive away the local global hamburger franchise. Or as the AdBuster’s detournement has it, “resistance is fertile. ” Instead of heading to the mountains and sending out bombs, perhaps the answer is to find a support group and resist, together.

All this is a way of saying that I have no final definition for what I mean when I talk about “carfree places.” Instead of that definition, I offer the series of observations and case studies that follow, with the hope of driving at the truth, if not the facts, (the ought, if not the is) of “carfree.”

“The is (the factual, the historical) is in the individual, particular example of [a building], an actual, physical, material entity which embodies opinions and conventions as well as the type. The ought (the true, the historic) is in what one comes to understand about [the building]. A particular example may be a persuasive model or even pardigmatic in its capacity to embody a particularly insightful opinion or high level of convention, but the most valuable, useful knowledge it contains is its type. The types can be known only through reasoning about the data of the senses. They are atemporal and in nature where they have an existence that is like that of political wisdom and justice, the logic of morals undergirding just political activity, and the concinnity [harmonic proportions] making it possible for buildings to be commodious, firm and beautiful” (Van Pelt and Westfal).

List of Observations

1. The carfree place is a tool
2. The carfree place is freighted with significance
3. We need carfree places in cities
4. The carfree lifestyle brings us freedom
5. Carfree people subsidise the services car drivers require
6. Carfree places are not the only way to enhance carfree choices
7. Carfree places can free us of car dependence
8. Designing a carfree place
9. Carfree (and car-lite) lifestyles
10. The economy of a carfree place
11. Actual carfree places in Toronto

1. The carfree place is a tool

Hillcrest park terrace housing, Cabbagetown, Toronto

This row of houses faces a park. A laneway at the back provides car access, but the front doors connect to the street by way of a block-long path.

The carfree place serves to do work: it makes us rethink what is necessary for a place to be modern. The carfree place carves out territory in auto-space and forces a reconsideration of all other spaces in light of its existence.

Of course, the car, too, is a tool. It is used by individuals to accomplish a goal. Its purpose is the transportation of individuals and goods through space. The car is not unlike a leaf blower in many ways: reliant on a controlled explosion to power its motor, it pushes bodies across real space, in real time.

Like a leaf-blower, the car is a noisy, dirty machine, a source of societally-tolerated danger. It inflicts itself on unwilling bystanders, in the name of a recognized social good (e.g. “leaf-removal” or “transportation”). Many would contend that the purported social good is open to question, and the danger too high.

Like the leaf-blower, the car is subject to regulation, and vehement rejection. Both machines lower the quality of life for those in their vicinity: in the immediate sense (their attendant noise and pollution) and in the long run (the social and urban design ramifications of their use).

To its owners, both car and leaf blower are seen as mere property, the expression of an inalienable right. Their value is in their “convenience:” the way they save labour and money while creating “free time” for other purposes.

In contrast, the carfree place is not seen as a legitimate tool. It is always fighting to justify itself, against charges of elitism, of nostalgia, of backward thinking, of mawkishness. While a carfree place is also property, its essential nature is always in danger of trespass. Nature abhores a vacuum, and auto-space is the “nature” of the modern world. It tends ever to expand. Once the car is invited in, it never leaves willingly.

One reason the work of carfree places is undervalued is it provides for the happiness of children. Children don’t drive cars, they get in the way of cars. Carfree places are places children can play in peace. Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogota, Columbia, holds “the happiness of children” as the highest urban design goal of a civilized society. Jane Jacobs, not an advocate of carfree cities per se, would nonetheless probably agree with Penalosa. The reason most “pedestrianized zones” fail by her reckoning is that they take away a central tool of the adult world: the car. With the tool gone, the adult goes too. And with the adult gone, the child is cut adrift from society.

“The lesson that city dwellers have to take responsibility for what goes on in city streets is taught again and again to children on sidewalks which enjoy a local public life. They can absorb it astonishingly early.” The “ballet of the sidewalk” must include all ages to be effective. Is Jacobs against carfree zones? Let me get back to that. Is she against cars? This is another question. I think it is fair to say she is “realistic” about cars. On the other hand, many would say she is not realistic about sidewalks: “Sidewalks 30 or 35 feet wide can accommodate virtually any demand of incidental play put upon them–along with trees to shade the activities, and sufficient space for pedestrian circulation and adult public sidewalk life and loitering. Few sidewalks of this luxurious width can be found. Sidewalk width is invariably sacrificed for vehicular width, partly because city sidewalks are conventionally considered to be purely space for pedestrian travel and access to buildings, and go unrecognized and unrespected as the uniquely vital and irreplaceable organs of city safety, public life and child rearing that they are.”

In other words, sidewalks are the carfree zone that Jacobs would see expanded. I think she sees the car as a necessary adjacency to sidewalks, a defining boundary. When she says, “Sidewalk width is invariably sacrificed for vehicular width,” she summarizes just the struggle I speak of: that between sidewalks (carfree places) and cars (auto-space), and the reason she gives for this struggle is the same as I have noted, that the work of carfree places is not given merit when measured against the work that cars do .

2. The carfree place is freighted with significance

“Wellesley Cottages,” Cabbagetown, Toronto

The property owners collectively own the street in front of their houses. Cars are allowed.

As indicated above, the carfree place is always apologizing for itself. It has to fight the charge of being “anti-modern,” “nostalgic,” or just plain “pretty,” without pause.

But the car has no such concerns: it is value-neutral. Car-owners have the status quo on their side: their right to property and their liberty to use it as they see fit. To them, the car is a tool with no intrinsic moral value or qualities. To them, the purpose of the car in its most elemental status is a tool to move people and goods from A to B. In what way could this be open to question?

Occasionally, you will get a car owner to agree that there are “too many” cars (especially when the “other” cars cause traffic jams). The answer is to build more roads. “Enlightened” car owners advocate increased public transportation—especially subways (to get other cars, buses and trams out of the way).

Occasionally, you will get a car owner to concede that the advertising and marketing of automobiles lies about the effects of driving a certain car, appealing to a base instinct such as speed or sexual attraction or lawbreaking (especially when they would deny that base instinct in themselves).

Occasionally, the “socially conscious” car owner will decry the cost of the automobile, voicing compassion for those working poor who must pay so much of their disposable income for the purchase and maintainance of a vehicle (but they never question the terms their own car use imposes on society that make car-ownership “necessary”).

Occasionally, a car-owner will bemoan the ever-increasing size and inefficiency of the cars around him, but usually with an acknowledgment of the need for greater size (and the safety it connotes).

But it is the carfree place that stands out. It is the place that has to justify its existence. It is the place that a person is “lucky” to live in–a little too lucky, perhaps. What does it take to get to the head of a 500-name waiting list, like the (capped) list for a place on the Toronto Islands? Who can afford $255,000 for a 15’ x 30’ two-storey row house on a carfree terrace in Parkdale? .

3. We need carfree places in cities

Children at play on a sunny spring Saturday, Bain Co-op, Toronto.

No adults in sight. Within seconds of my taking this picture however, two women appeared to ask me my business.

Carfree places are necessary for health and happiness. Children need places to play and socialize near the “village” it takes to raise them. Today’s cities pay lip service to carfree places: places such as parks, shopping centres, and playgrounds. The idea that a child can learn independence within a friendly compound, while an adult can accomplish productive work nearby, is lost when the carfree place is at a distance from home. When a child has to be ferried across town to visit a friend (given increasingly inadequate public transit) what does it say about the city’s priorities? When groceries are only available at a supermarket at the other end of a highway (and the store doesn’t deliver) is it carfree places the city is embracing, or the car? When cars race through local roads, creating traffic sewers and making homeowners demand traffic calming, is anyone questioning the big picture?

Even the people who fight for speed humps and chicanes on their block; the people who live on a cul-de-sac or buy a condo on a carfree courtyard, fight against traffic calming elsewhere–if they drive. Car owners “know” the city needs the car, even if they would choose a pedestrianized place for their own home.

They argue: without the car (or ambulance, or taxi) how could we reach the distant hospital or medical care we may need, in case of emergency? (Never mind that an encounter with the car or its effluent is frequently the source of our emergency; never mind that the “doctor will no longer come to the house, because vehicles have made the hospital into the right place to be sick” ).

Without the car, how could we visit distant relations or friends with any frequency? (Never mind that car dependency makes distance a fact of life. Never mind that the value of a visit is reduced, the more its possibility is taken for granted.)

Without the car, how could we afford to live the good life in the “country” while still reaching our urban place of employment in reasonable time? How would we be able to leave the stinking city when the need and chance arises? (Never mind what caused the stink, never mind the Roads Out of Town that cause the “ROT.”)

No, these questions need to be turned around. What sort of civilization would we have without carfree places?

It is the car that is dispensable .

4. The carfree lifestyle brings us freedom

Saturday, late winter, on the Danforth: a prototypical “Main Street” in Toronto.

The cyclists in this picture demonstrate a fundamental truth about the carfree lifestyle: unimpeded by gridlock, the cyclist can move at optimum speed, always. We pass any barrier that will trap the car, for if need be, we can carry the machine that carries us.

The freedom that comes from not owning a car is enhanced by the option to rent a car or take a cab whenever you feel like it. The freedom is not just financial (people without cars save many thousands of dollars per year), but spiritual as well. The car owner loses options once they commit to the automobile, for the beast sits there, waiting, as if to say “you’re paying for me, better use me.”

The carfree person, seemingly constrained in time and space, is actually freer in both dimensions. Figures from central London, UK, for example, demonstrate that a cyclist’s door-to-door speed (including parking) is double that of a car driver, and 1.5 times that of a transit user.

As for the much-vaunted freedom of the road, it may not be all lies. As long as drivers keep to the tracks laid down for them, they can go anywhere, at any time. In fact, the stranger the hour they travel, the less likely they’ll be impeded by others.

Traveling by car is like watching television: we’re limited only by our channel selection. If we spend the money, we get more channels (pavement). We can even rent videos (fly to Europe) and see even stranger things through our (wind)screen. The car gives us a place to be, in private, without the watchful eye of a boss or a family member. We can have sex in our car. How did people have sex before the car was invented? Do people in places like China and India, where there are so many fewer cars per capita, have sex?

The truth is, our “freedom to drive” creates an inevitable geography of sprawl that acts to put many places out of reach of people without cars. It marks the landscape with barriers that cut through neighbourhoods, divides a town from its lakefront, or places the commuter at a remove from the subway. This “freedom” puts people who are not in cars in mortal danger–not to mention the many smaller life-forms decimated by cars and roads.

What do the car drivers have to say?

“Get yourself a car and maybe you’ll feel better about it.”

The car brings not freedom, but need. The car creates places and barriers and social problems that need a car to surmount or to access. On the contrary, it is the carfree place and the carfree lifestyle that bring true freedom.

5. Carfree people subsidise the services car drivers require

Noon on a weekday along College Street, Toronto.

Big road for seven people. One is waiting for a tram. Three of them are in cars.

The car owner would like to think that they alone fund the building of roads and car facilities, but this is wrong. We all pay for the roads and curbs and bridges society deems necessary for those who would drive. We pay with our taxes, of course. In no way does the tax that drivers pay for gasoline or toll roads amount to enough to pay for the roads that car dependency invokes. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that people who don’t ever step in a car pay 40% of the cost of roads that car drivers require.

6. Carfree places are not the only way to enhance carfree choices

Pedestrians crossing the Danforth, Toronto, at midday on a Saturday.

Those in the foreground are at a signalized intersection. Beyond, a woman waits in the middle of the road for an opening, to finish her crossing. The success of the Danforth is due in large part to its friendliness to pedestrians. This friendliness is not an accident, but a result of intelligent road-planning decisions.

A pedestrian is anyone who walks. This seems a pedestrian observation; it is nonetheless a necessary one. We are almost all pedestrians, insofar as we almost all walk. The driver disembarks from the car and is transformed, if momentarily, from an automobile object into an auto-mobile subject.

Furthermore, the sidewalk is the great leveler. While some gaits are quicker than others and not all feet have shoes, one pedestrian is the equal of any other pedestrian. We walk beside each other. It is the car that would put us in line.

Yet although the driver of one car may be higher in status than another (as defined by the cost and shininess of the vehicle and its attendant advertising budget), no driver is ever other than a pedestrian-in-waiting. Thus it is the car-driver who aspires to be a pedestrian, not the other way around.

7. Carfree places can free us of car dependence

A four-storey apartment building at Danforth Avenue and Donlands Avenue, Toronto.

The subway is across the street. One bus runs from this corner to Yonge and Eglinton. Another goes to the Portlands. The building is adjacent to nightlife, a system of bicycle paths, and main street shopping. Because it has no on-site parking, this building would not be built today.

I accepted a lift home from a party from a friend who owns a car. It was late, and it was cold, and the party was distant from public transportation and also in unfamiliar terrain. I depended on her car to get me safely to my destination. My dependence was caused by factors that her car contributed to; in effect, my dependence created her car. Without her car I would not have been stuck, but I might have decided to stay overnight, or not to go the party in the first place. I might have decided to walk, or to figure out the public transit choices. I used her car as one would use a tool, to solve a problem. But never forget: the problem was created by the tool.

8. Designing a carfree place

Owl House Lane courtyard condominium, Toronto.

Looks nice–no cars here. But I poked around for half an hour on a weekday afternoon, and never saw a sign of life, either. What’s with this place?

Hint: the unseen level contains a parking garage, with access to each unit.

To design in a world ruled by what Freund and Martin call “auto-space” is to design for the car. Architects and urban designers, whether designing a shopping mall or a funeral parlour, start with the zoning bylaw that tells them how many parking spaces the usage-type requires. Ian Roberts, writing in the Guardian, claimed that urban planners are to blame for the war in Iraq, (which has proven to be “about oil,” after all) but this is a polemic. Planners didn’t create the world they design for. They are tools of tools. The melody and beat of auto-space is what architects and planners dance to. To resist that beat is to risk ridicule, if not bankruptcy.

Nonetheless, some designers take this risk. Toronto’s Official Plan has even made the call for zoning and infrastructure to reduce car dependency. Yet few developers take advantage of the infrastructure and build for the carfree residential market. One reason may be that true carfree design is not possible in auto-space.

Yet it is possible to design for a carfree lifestyle .

9. Car free (and car-lite) lifestyles.

Trenton Terrace, Parkdale, Toronto. The woman holding in the photograph holding the baby laughed when I told her I was writing about carfree places. “Oh, we own cars,” she said. “We park them on the street.”

We live in auto-space, but a majority of urban dwellers live here without owning cars. We get around on foot, on public transit, or by bicycle. Sometimes we take cabs, rent cars, or borrow lifts from friends and relatives. We have carfree or at least (to quote Katie Alvord) “car-lite” lifestyles. Our lifestyle is possible because of a number of factors, many of them a result of urban design.

Jan Scheurer lists a handful of these design factors:
a. Integration with public transit
b. Proximity to basic shopping and services
c. Connection to cycling network
d. Shelter from traffic noise and pollution
e. Adjacency to open play and recreation space

It is worth mentioning that Scheurer’s list, above, comprises his “ideal” factors for a successful carfree housing project. What is interesting is that this list describes much of downtown Toronto, and many other pre-war urban cores in the Western world. Yet only in pockets of Toronto and other modern cities can be found Scheurer’s ideal, the carfree residential community.

Scheurer’s report describes six carfree residential precincts (“housing geared especially toward residents not owning cars”) that have been built or planned in Europe in the past decade. These projects are all much smaller than might be warranted by the significant percentage of European urban households that forego car ownership.

In fact, while many modern cities make a token gesture at a “pedestrian precinct” or a carfree downtown mall, and most cities acknowledge their residents’ general hatred of cars—a.k.a. desire to control the inroads cars make in residential neighbourhoods, no cities or developers respond to the carfree demographic in a way that reflects the actual numbers. Indeed, the carfree majority continually gives “right of way” to the minority that auto-space actually privileges. Why is this?

One reason may be a natural, if uneasy, balance that exists between the two groups:

a. I give you the right to drive on 30-50% of the land surface of my city in exchange for a taxi stand, grocery delivery, transit stop or bikelane near my house.

b. I give you the right to fill the air with combustion fumes, to poison my groundwater with industrial effluvia, and to wage war in the name of your need for hydrocarbons, in exchange for my right to shop near my house.

c. I give you the right to desecrate earth and sky with advertising signage in colour and size proportionate to your limited view from the speeding windscreen, in return for my right to cross the street at a traffic light or protected crossover.

d. I give you the right to travel in climate-controlled comfort, protected by armour, in exchange for my advantage in overall door-to-door velocity.

e. I give you the right to limit and endanger me in my use of the public realm in exchange for the $10,482.43 I save by not owning a car in the city.

10. The economy of carfree places

Carfree market run, Toronto Island Ferry, March 2002

Carfree places have to fit into the real economy of Auto-space. People without cars work in offices, shop in supermarkets, and play in public recreation areas. It is not the economy of carfree lifestyles that should be examined, but that of auto-space.

What is the real cost of a car?

What does this question mean? The price I pay for my car is its real cost. That’s called market value, right?

Wrong. The real cost of a car is a sum of its market value plus all the hidden costs covered by society: costs like road infrastructure and repair, the time spent unproductively in traffic jams and parking spaces. The cost of parking spaces is staggering. Over the U.S., free parking subsidies provided by employers amount to $85 billion a year. One U.S. estimate (Northwest Environment Watch, 1996 ) put the cost of “free parking” at 10 cents per mile driven, or (to use the Canadian Automobile Association average car-owner’s annual mileage ) 10 cents times 10,800 miles: US$1,080 per year, per car .

11. Actual Carfree places in Toronto

View from Ward’s Island, Toronto, March 2002.

Does it still count as “road hockey” when there are no cars?

Given my contention that all of Toronto possesses characteristics that would ally it with Scheurer’s ideal carfree residential community, it is worth asking: what is wrong? In other words, how can a place that so well meets the “requirements” of carfree places still be so full of cars?

An approach to the answer may be found in the central characteristic of the car that I have identified above: it is firstly a tool. No matter how we as designing animals tart up our tools, they are still ungainly, potentially dangerous, capital-intensive commodity fetish items, and subject to misuse. They always carry with them the threat of “utopia” identified above, that of clearing away place in favour of Auto-space.

As a tool, the car wants a place in shed, in the back yard with the other tools. But the density of cities does not lend itself easily to the storage of such a cumbersome tool, especially not with 600 million of them on the road today (and 40 million more added annually). When the automobile age was young, it appeared the car would fit with existing models of tool storage and go in the barn (or a specialized barn) with the horse and carriage.

Not everyone had a horse and carriage of course, nor did everyone need one. Cities were developing nicely with rail-based transit systems. Places like Bedford Hills, New York, and other affluent “railway towns” grew up and filled in around the notion that people would live within walking distance of the train station. The town square maintained a quality of urbanity, with zero-lot-line development and mainstreet style buildings, while the wealthy got to live a short walk up the road, in country retreats well away from urban squalor.

The car posed a problem, however, as more and more were produced. Very few stopped (or have yet stopped) to ask: is this a good thing? Instead, we fumble along, Human, the Designing Animal, making designs to solve our “problems.” As Tony Fry says, “This perspective rests on a ‘logic’ of short-term returns and an absolute inability to recognise that the future is not a void to be filled but rather a space already filled by the past and the present.”


“The history of the motor car is an example…One does not have to exercise too much brain power to decide how many of the creators of motor cars remotely considered its impact upon the world’s climate, trauma medicine, wildlife, house design, urban form, cultural values, road construction, waste generation…”

Instead, we design.

The design of Clarence Stein and Henry Wright for a new “garden city for the motor age” bears note. In Radburn, New Jersey, in 1928, they came up with a way, they thought, to solve the problem of the car and the city. They put the car and the human firmly in two different worlds. The door to the street, the “front door,” became the door to the car: the “back door.” The new front door was put where the back door used to be, away from the street. This ingenious design, which put the tool in its rightful place, proved to be an affront to human nature, but it has had staying power. Along with the “neighbourhood unit” diagram developed alongside Radburn by Stein and Wright’s contemporary, Clarence Perry, Radburn influenced (and continues to influence) the design of new towns ever since.

Radburn in plan and detail show the ingenious–and delusional–separation of “foot traffic” from “motor traffic.”

The problem with Radburn is that people will enter by the shortest line. Arriving by car, they park and walk in the “back door.” The layout of the Radburn house therefore had the most private realm as its entry way, and the public realm in the alley. This “front/back dilemma” is the heaviest baggage of the automobile as it affects urban design.

Any suburb that relies on modal separation to solve the problem of Auto-space versus human-space bears the imprint of Radburn. In Toronto it can be seen in Don Mills, for example, with its back-lotted arterial roads and separation of vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

So now we come back to the original question: what is it about Toronto (and most other large North American cities with an intact urban core) that, while meeting the requirements of carfree places, is so clearly subject to Auto-space?

Is it possible Scheurer’s list is incomplete? He names: integration with public transit; proximity to basic shopping and services; connection to cycling network; shelter from traffic noise and pollution; adjacency to open play and recreation space. But he does not mention critical mass, which I believe to be the most important factor of all. The carfree enclave will always be marginal within auto-space, but maybe if it reaches some specific size (density is a separate issue: carfree design is always more dense than the Auto-space around it) it can resist auto-space more effectively. How big does this have to be?

One answer is pointed at in the “neighbourhood unit” invention of Clarence Perry, who in 1929 wrote that an ideal size for a community is that which is sufficient to support an elementary school: “about 750 to 1,500 families on 150 to 300 acres.”

This number, which amounts to some 5,000-10,000 people, has roots much older than the last century however. Christopher Alexander cites it in his pattern #12, “Community of 7,000,” and writes: “This is an old idea. It was the model for Athenian democracy in the third and fourth centuries B.C. [sic]; it was Jefferson’s plan for American democracy; it was the tack Confucius took in his book on government, The Great Digest.”

Jane Jacobs is skeptical, however: “Unfortunately orthodox planning is deeply committed to the ideal of supposedly cozy, inward-turned city neighbourhoods. …composed of about 7,000 persons, a unit supposedly of sufficient size to populate an elementary school and to support convenience shopping and a community centre.”

Jacobs questions every aspect of it, and it does not stand up to her scrutiny. She calls it “a silly, even harmful ‘ideal’ for cities,” pointing out “a basic difference between these concoctions grafted into cities, and town life:” in short, “neighbourhoods” are meaningless in the context of teeming cities, where mobility is a fact of life.

For Jacobs, three “unit sizes” are worth attending to in large cities, especially in the context of self-government: “(1) the city as a whole; (2) street neighbourhoods (and 3) districts of large, subcity size, composed of 100,000 people or more in the case of the largest cities.”

While small island-cities like Venice, Italy (population 70,000), or Gulangyu, China (population 20,000), exist as proof that carfree places can be fairly large (nevermind the pre-car metropolises of London, Paris, New York or Edo), and while Stein’s Radburn Plan exists as an ideal type for a kind of topsy-turvy “neighbourhood unit” (following Perry’s nomenclature) that turns its backs on the car, it is yet only at Jacobs’s “neighbourhood street” level that carfree places are ever likely to be found, or built anew, in the existing world of Auto-space.

What might such places look like?

My answer is in the form of case studies of existing carfree enclaves, and places that support carfree lifestyles, in Toronto. I am interested in studying Toronto examples not just for economy of means, but because I reject the “no-place” of utopia in favour of its double, the “happy place” that really exists, close at hand. If something has been done, it can be done again.

I examine seven types:
1. The Island
2. The Garden Apartment
3. The Prewar Apartment Building
4. The Mainstreet Walkup
5. The Courtyard
6. The Terrace
7. The Housing Estate

1. The Island:

This map, from Sally Gibson’s More Than an Island, shows the Toronto Islands at their peak of population in 1955. Today only Ward’s, at the eastern-most end, and Algonquin, at the centre-right, are still residential communities.

The history of the Toronto Islands has spawned several books. People have lived there from before European settlement of the continent. The city owes its early prosperity to the natural harbour the islands afford. The islands reached a peak of population density in the early 1950s, when some 3,000 Torontonians summered there every year. But even then the powers of disurbanization wrought by the bourgeoning automobile age were mounting against the place.

Starting with the island airport development at the start of World War II (which displaced “Canada’s Coney Island” at the western end, (including the original baseball stadium where Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run)), the islanders had to move and remove, finally settling on the last two enclaves: Algonquin Island and the eastern-most end of Ward’s Island.

Today: Ward’s Island on the right, Algonquin above left. A bridge connects Algonquin to Ward’s. The Ward’s ferry terminal, above right, is a five-minute walk from the bridge.

Together these two places today support some 262 households, plus or minus. A closer look at the Ward’s Island community is instructive. Originally laid out as a summertime tenting site in around 1915, its key elements include: narrow streets (12’ R.O.W.) with no automobile traffic permitted; small, squarish house lots (approximately 40’ wide by 50’ deep); small houses (1,300 square feet maximum).

The density of Ward’s Island is 18 detached houses per acre. By comparison, the density of Toronto’s downtown residential fabric (including streets and laneways) reaches a level of 12 houses per acre (sufficient density, compared with the suburbs, to support public transit). This is true even with the lots, at 20’ x 100’, the same area as on Ward’s, and house GFA, at 60% lot size, also the same. The difference, of course is the amount of land devoted to pavement: 33% in Toronto compared with 18% on Ward’s.

At left, the Ward’s Island street grid. At right, the typical Toronto grid.

For sake of argument, the houses are indicated as having the same footprint, although on the Island they tend to be more square. Note how much land is paved: 30’ wide roads and 15’ wide alleys in Toronto proper, all of it marked: “Ball and Street Hockey Prohibited.”

Algonquin Island is similar to Ward’s, except because of a different history (it was a tabula rasa in sand dredged from the harbour, a space made afresh for the displaced houses from the post-war airport expansion), its lot sizes are larger (50’ x 100’) and its houses bigger. Like Ward’s island, its “roads” are carfree lanes of ten feet in width, but the road right-of-way is a full 30 feet, (sufficient for the anticipated arrival of the car.)

Sections through Ward’s (above) and Algonquin (below) suggest the different densities of the two places. Key to each is the street-facing nature of the lots, which guarantees a coherent gradient of public to private realms

The two communities share:

a. integration with a park setting (including wild areas, athletic fields, beaches and boating facilities)

b. near-100% dependence on public transportation (the ferry system) or muscle power (a canoe paddle) for access to most amenities like off-island friends, nightlife, employment and shopping

c. elementary schools (one public and one Montessori) and a high school

d. employment including at the schools, the fire hall, the cafes, and self-employment including an “Artscape” studio building

e. a street layout that has houses facing each other across narrow streets, with no back alleys or “back-lotted” properties.

Ward’s island bird’s eye view

2. The garden apartment

These three 4-storey apartment buildings on College Street, across from the University of Toronto, each measure some 36’ x 170’. They each hold 28 apartments, on double-loaded corridors. Parking is below grade, but to gain entry to the buildings one must mount to the courtyard and go through the main door.

Garden apartments are distinguished from regular apartment buildings by the way one enters them from an off-street courtyard or garden. They vary in density based on height and setback from one another, but if they are double-loaded they need more distance between them than single-loaded or street-facing apartment buildings do.

Phinn Park (subsidised housing), Toronto.

Five 2-storey attached apartments per 32’ x 100’ building. A pedestrian path links the front doors to an adjacent parking lot, with room for one car per unit. The path continues through the public park as a carfree shortcut to the Danforth and to Jones Avenue. The subway is a three-minute walk away. The adjacent building is a public high school, with a running track and football pitch.

The potential the Garden Apartment type has as carfree housing is limited by the way it connects to the surrounding grid of streets. Phinn Park, above, is interesting because it provides many pedestrian linkages that are superior to those for car drivers.

3. The Prewar Apartment Building

This apartment building, at the intersection of Donlands and Danforth, was built in 1938. It has a floorplate of 44’x 96’ and six apartments per floor. It rents 24 one- and two-bedroom apartments, at a density of 240 units/acre (minus limiting distances).

The essential quality that sets “prewar” apartment buildings off from other types is the fact that they were built in a time when zoning requirements did not include on-site parking. The money that would have been spent on parking lots went into increased floor-to-floor heights, more elegant details, and other factors that give the apartment buildings cache today.

In New York, prewar apartments usually contain retail at street level.

The prewar apartment building type fits well with the Mainstreet Walkup type. They were usually built on streets with good public transit (the Danforth was served with a streetcar until the subway was built in 1965) and vibrant streetlife.

4. The Mainstreet Walkup

These mixed-use buildings at Danforth and Pape are typical of Toronto’s mainstreets.

The Mainstreet Walkup type provides apartments above busy streets. They may provide parking, but if they do it is usually limited. The city of Toronto in its new Official Plan calls main streets “Avenues,” and applies to them less stringent parking standards than in the recent past. The type fits well with a carfree lifestyle, insofar as all the requirements of the Good Life are close at hand.

Essential to the Mainstreet walkup is the design of the main street itself. What works so well about the Danforth is the actual street pattern and layout of lanes.

The Danforth has been divided into a symmetrical pattern of two car lanes in each direction, with a reserved lane at the centre (used for left turns at intersections). This accommodation of car traffic comes with a twist: only during peak hours (7-9 am westbound, 4-6 pm eastbound) does a given direction have two full car travel lanes. The rest of the time, the curb lane is used for parking, which leaves a defacto bicycle lane in each direction. The parked cars provide a haven for jaywalkers, which, together with the carfree median, transforms the entire street into a pedestrian plaza. The rear of the mainstreet buildings, with restaurants or other retail at grade, are serviced by a laneway. The Bloor-Danforth subway line runs parallel, with entrances a ten minute walk apart.

As indicated in the diagram above, the Mainstreet type accomplishes the goals of conviviality and community aimed for by other carfree places, yet without eliminating the car. To some extent (with wider sidewalks) it is Jane Jacobs’s ideal type, as laid out in the introduction to this section.

Insofar as it keeps in check the desire of cardrivers for unbridled speed, while still providing essential variety and activity for pedestrians, the Mainstreet type holds much promise. When associated with public transit, especially, and when coupled with traffic calming devices as on the Danforth, through streets almost act like Courtyards.

5. The Courtyard

Melbourne Place, Parkdale, Toronto

Six houses face each other across a shared paved courtyard, accessible to cars by a gate to the street. The paved area turns into a regular lane (although again with only the single access point) serving the back entrances to a further six houses whose front doors are on the regular street. A pedestrian path to the left leads to the flanking street. This courtyard has gas lighting, and brick paving from edge to edge. The convivial potential of this type is suggested by the picnic table at centre and the bright flags hanging from the dwellings.

The Courtyard type has great potential as a carfree place. Its controlled entry points and lack of through roads mean that all that is necessary for cars to be restricted is the will of the dwellers immediately affected. This means that any dead-end street or suburban cul-de-sac could conceivably be redesigned as a courtyard. The courtyard lends itself ideally to retrofit conversion, for example along the Dutch woonerven model: the creation of woonerven (“living yards”) in urban areas in the Netherlands is another example of how old residential neighbourhoods can be made safe for pedestrians and for children at play. Whole areas are rebuilt: streets are narrowed, trees are planted, bollards are installed. This ensures that traffic enters at slow speed ant that it continues at low speed.

The Wellesley Cottages and the Owl House Lane condominiums are variants of the courtyard type. In the former case the homeowners also own the street. In the latter, the courtyard is raised above a parking garage and so completely inaccessible to cars.

6. The Terrace

Trenton Terrace, Parkdale, Toronto.

This carfree mews holds 11 two-story attached houses, each 15’ x 30’, in a lot equal to one under the three-storey duplex houses built nearby. Parking is limited to what is available on the fronting street. Reflecting the demand for such special places, the house at centre is for sale, asking $255,000.

Terrace houses and mews houses are two varieties of a pattern that fosters much more intense land-use than typical urban fabric. Because it is so dense, it contributes to two factors that support carfree lifestyles. One is the fact that greater density makes public transit more viable. The other is that by fostering community in a semi-private space in front of the house, it raises critical resistance to the impersonal qualities that auto-space thrives on.

The Terrace type lends itself to edges facing parks. Its success as carfree housing is directly related to its success fostering community: where it is built with parking facilities accessible to the rear, it will look nice, but may not work to best advantage. The problem is directly related to the front/back dilemma brought out in the Radburn Plan, discussed in the Neighbourhood Unit type below.

Hillcrest Park was the edge of a street leading from Riverdale down into the Don Valley. When the Don Valley Parkway was built, the street was decommissioned. Who says only bad things come from the construction of highways?

Russell Hill Terrace in Forest Hill, Toronto, was built in 1998. Its western edge faces onto Winston Churchill Park. The million-dollar, three-storey attached houses back onto a parking garage. Does that explain why nobody ever uses the “front door?”

7. The Housing Estate

Riverdale Courts, also known as Bain Co-op, was built by the city in 1913, when the autocar was only a dimly perceived vision of the future.

The Bain Co-op is located in Toronto’s East End, a ten- minute walk to the Danforth subway, shopping and nightlife. It is adjacent to two large public parks. Its interior paths and courtyards are a delight for children (see also discussion and photo, p. 15). It provides 260 units in 25 three-storey buildings on a two-acre site: a density of 130 units per acre. Its three parking areas, confined to the perimeter, provide space for only 75 cars. There is a two-year waiting list for people wanting to rent an apartment here.

What can be learned from the Bain Co-op?

1. Its high density, essential for the goals of public transit efficiency and for conviviality, is achievable for one reason: it minimizes the wasted space of car infrastructure

2. Its openness to the street keeps it from feeling too isolated and potentially dangerous, while its interior-facing courtyards guarantee “eyes on the street” and encourage neighbourliness

3. Its political structure as a co-operative encourages responsibility on the part of its inhabitants for the management and security of the premises

4. Its units all face a courtyard; there is no case where the back of one unit faces the front of another (see the discussion of front/back issues in the “Island” type)

5. Beauty is important Like the Prewar Apartment type, the Housing Estate can benefit by putting the money it saves on car facilities into luxurious qualities that make living pleasurable.

Conclusion: What Ought Carfree Places Be?

Strangely, the research and writing of this paper, so full of dark thoughts and calls for “resistance” against Auto-space, has left me feeling optimistic. We live in a defutured world–I have no doubt about that. As Tony Fry writes: “sustainable technologies need to be created and brought into confrontation with the unsustainable technological norm.” We crossed the “Hubbert Peak” of oil production in 1999, which means not “that the world is running out of oil: it means that we are running out of the cheap pumpable oil that has fueled the economic development of the 20th Century.”

As an urban designer I have to acknowledge my role in society is to solve the problems these scenarios present. And thus my growing optimism as I write this paper.

For all around us in our cities there is work to be done, and the tool I have identified here will succor me in that work. The carfree place is that tool. The problem of auto-space can be bridged by, in crude terms, excluding the car. It is possible to resist, to “say no.” And when the car is put out of the picture, its unreasonable demands (for space, for safety) go too.

If the sustainable functioning of public transit demands greater density, for example, carfree places should be built for people to live right on the transit lines and nodes. If it is possible, or even preferable, to live on a mews or a terrace with only a pedestrian way leading to the public street, we have the model for such a place right at hand. If woonerf or play-streets are called for, I can show you one that works, and I don’t have to go to the Netherlands to do so. If peoples’ houses backlot onto public parks, I can imagine (for I have seen it) a way to make those backlots into front doors. And even at the front door of Auto-space, along its Main Streets, I can show the tool that is the carfree place, hard at work.

Have I answered the question I set out to do? Do I know how a carfree place can exist against the strictures of Auto-space? Do I have an answer for the Modern Project’s apologist who says there can be “no place without car?”

No to all questions.

But I know, like the bumblebee for whom flight is an aeronautically determined impossibility, that the carfree place does exist, right here in town. I even have an inkling of how it works.

I hope I have conveyed that information in this discussion. Even more, I hope I am able to put to use the tools of carfree places in my future work in urban design.

Selected Bibliography


Alvord, Katie
Divorce Your Car! Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile
New Society, 2000
· Key concept: “car-free” versus “car-lite” as lifestyle choices;
· Distinction between lifestyle and urban design choices

Breines, Simon and Dean, William J.
The Pedestrian Revolution: Streets Without Cars
Vintage, New York, 1974
Not so useful.
· Proposes ways to redesign streets in favour of pedestrian life.
· Takes as a given that pedestrianizing a street will increase its liveliness, but the examples it shows do not support the claim
· Focused on commercial/retail streets (pedestrian malls)

Engwicht, David
Street Reclaiming: Creating Livable Streets and Vibrant Communities
New Society, Gabriola Island, BC, 1999
· Essentially a “how-to” manual for the creation of “woonerf”-type streets.
· Not addressing car-free streets but accomodating the modern urban ideal of one car per person, in a way that doesn’t require people to abandon the loved one.

Kay, Jane Holtz
Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America
and How We Can Take it Back
Crown, 1997
· Critical of existing situation: suggestions of alternatives and descriptions of grassroots struggle to “depave” America.

Perkin, George,
Streets for Pedestrians
Cembereau, ca. 1977
· Being a compilation of photographs exhorting the introduction of pedestrian malls in place of car streets in North American and European city centres.

Register, Richard
Ecocity Berkely: Building Cities for a Healthy Future
North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 1987
· Smells like utopia, even to me.
· Put our nonrenewable energy use into the creation of plexiglas pedestrian “skybridges” connecting buildings far overhead? Why not.


Alexander, Christopher, et al.
A Pattern Language
Oxford, 1977

· An oft-cited reference catalog of diagrams and descriptions of ways of place-making, modeled on existing (or remembered) fragments of “beautiful, functional” places around the world.
· Many architects and designers are suspicious of its presumptive language and unsourced statistics and anecdotal evidence, but the patterns it presents have a ring of truth (see footnote 17 above) to them.

Allderdice, Jacob
Toronto Islands: A Case-study in Carfree Urban Design
(Unpublished), 2002
Completed as part of the course requirements for URD 1036 “Selected Topics in Urban Design,” Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, University of Toronto. Professor Michel Trocme
· Lays out a prototypical carfree residential design pattern of the “Island” type:
· Density: 18 houses per acre (44 houses per hectare) with 40’ x 50’ lots, 12’ streets
· Community size: approx. 300 houses

Appleyard, Donald
Livable Streets
University of California, 1981
· Ideal of a street where one can walk anywhere at anytime
· Excellent diagrams, e.g. p. 280 shows ways of affecting change (favourable to pedestrians) on a given street.

Brambilla and Longo
Handbook for Pedestrian Action
U.S. Government Printing Office, 1977
· Analysis of Pedestrian zoning
· Defines “traffic-free zones” as if bicycles aren’t traffic, an outdated concept
· Pedestrian mall emphasis on commercial/retail uses

Banning the Car Downtown: Selected American Cities
U.S. Gov’t Printing office (ca. 1977)
· Looks at transit malls / pedestrian malls
· Aimed at a reversal of trend toward sprawl / “ bringing shoppers back to the city”
· Emphasis on commercial / retail.

Crawford, Joel
Carfree Cities
International Books, Utrecht, 2000
· Essential reading
· Proposes the re-introduction of car-free neighbourhoods and gives many examples of existing and historical models.
· Establishes Venice as a yardstick for carfree lifestyle (and design)
· Extensive reliance on rail-based transit
· City dependent on foot power
· Excellent annotated bibliography
· Website (www.Carfree.com) is also thorough and helpful
· Crawford also runs an online magazine called “Carfree Times”

Edminster and Koffman
Streets for Pedestrians and Transit: An Evaluation of Three Transit Malls
U.S. Dept of Transportation, 1979
· Looks at Nicolet Mall in Minneapolis, Chestnut St. Mall in Philadelphia, and Portland’s Transit Mall.

Freund and Martin
Ecology of the Automobile
Black Rose, 1993
· Key concept: “Auto-space,” which permeates the unconscious mind of the modern world and affects all decisions and behaviour.

Fry, Tony
A New Design Philosophy: An Introduction to Defuturing
UNSW 1999
· Fry’s key invention is “defuturing”
· To defuture is to take away the future (of a thing, a place or a culture)
· To defuture is to identify those things which cause defuturing to occur.
· Key concept: the future is not a void. It is filled by the acts of the present and past.
· key concept: technology creates its own “nature,” which becomes the wilderness humans have to wander in (compare with Freund and Martin’s Auto-space, above).

Gehl, Jan
Life Between Buildings
Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1987
· Density is key to urbanity: “It is not buildings, but people and events that need to be assembled” (p. 83)
· Front/back issue: “A village street with two unbroken rows of houses oriented toward the street (presents) a clear and consistent assembly of activities” (p. 85)

Hill, Michael
Walking, Crossing Streets, Choosing Pedestrian Routes
· Density enhances pedestrian experience in two ways:
· Services and amenities closer to where people will walk
· Density generates pedestrian activity through acceptance of pedestrianism, increased pedestrian safety, and people-watching opportunities

Illich, Ivan,
Energy and Equity
Published in LeMonde, 1973, this version 1978
· Essential reading
· Quote: “Society works best at the speed of a bicycle”

Jacobs, Jane
The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Vintage, New York, 1961
· Essential reading. It all comes back to this book at some point, even if Jacobs herself doubts the importance (or viability) of carfree districts.
· Key concepts include the use of sidewalks (not just for pedestrian transportation, naturally)
· Paraphrase: “if the sidewalk is safe, the city is safe” (p. 30)

Kunstler, James Howard
Home From Nowhere
Simon and Schuster, 1996
· Key point: analysis of Henry George economic theory, which proposes the taxing of land rather than buildings, resulting in densification of city cores.

McClelland, et al, (eds.)
East Meets West: A Guide to Where People Live in Downtown Toronto
Coach House: 2000
· Elegant analysis of Toronto architecture and urban design, with essays by a variety of writers.
· Complete text available online at http://www.chbooks.com/online/eastwest/index.html

Moudon, Anne Vernez, editor
Public Streets for Public Use
Van Nostrand, New York, 1987
· See especially “Streets as Playgrounds” by Robin Moore

Newman, Peter and Kenworthy, Jeffrey
Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence
Island, Washington DC, 1999
· Points up role of automobile in dispersing population density
· Addresses advantage of rail-based transit over bus-based transit (relative permanence of infrastructure encourages greater development)

Scheurer, Jan
Residential Areas for Households without Cars
The Scope for Neighbourhood Mobility Management in Scandinavian Cities
Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy (ISTP)
Murdoch University Perth, Australia

Cornelius, Stephen James
Modelling and Control of Automotive Catalysts
University of Cambridge: 2001
PhD thesis published online at:

de Cauter, Lieven
“Capsular Civilisation: The City in the Age of Transcendental Capitalism” (Chapter 19 of The Hieroglyphics of Space, Neil Leach, ed.)
Routledge, 2001

Frische, Peter
The Work of Memory, Chapter 3: “How Nostalgia Narrates Modernity”
Available online at: http://www.press.uillinois.edu/epub/books/confino/ch3.html#ref3

Laurier, Eric
City of Glas(z)
PhD thesis, University of Wales, Lampeter: 1996. Available online at:

Van Pelt Robert J. and Westfal, Carroll,
Architectural Principles in the Age of Historicism
Yale U. Press 1991

Vernant, J.P.
Essay: “From the ‘presentification’ of the invisible to the imitation of experience”
I do not know where this was published. Mine is an unsourced photocopy handed out in URD 1033 Urban Design, Culture and Media, University of Toronto
Professor Andrew Payne

Transport Statistics for London 1999 http://www.londontransport.co.uk/streets/cycling_promoting_cycling.shtml

Year 2000 census data (U.S.) available online at http://www.rightofway.org/

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