No cars for life

This article by Good about people my age and younger driving less strikes me as very true. Just one point: I have a driving license, but I’ve never owned a car. My brother does not even have a driving license because if you never leave Amsterdam having a car is ludicrous. I try to minimize my driving except for the occasional road trip because I think my time is too valuable to spend many hours doing something unnecessary.

But even more striking is the following paragraph that positions this change as one of the factors that influences the change of population within certain cities:

When the Millennial generation’s desire for more public transit and walkable neighborhoods clashes with political/policy gridlock, the result is skyrocketing real estate prices in the nation’s few non-car-centric cities. This can have a powerful displacement effect on lower-income residents. The more walkable a neighborhood, the more expensive it is. (Consider Manhattan, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, large swaths of Brooklyn, and Center City Philadelphia, among others.) This forces low-income and immigrant communities into the suburbs where, paradoxically, those least able to afford a car may be forced to get one. — GOOD

Public transport here of course is complementary with walkable neighborhoods but also with a lively urban fabric with enough cultural, leisurely and other things to do within easy reach. In short people who can afford it want to live in the nice parts of the city (and who can blame them). This proces has already happened in Amsterdam and is now taking place in Berlin (see the previous piece on the protests) somewhat more violently.

Theoretically political/policy gridlock is fixable, but I’m bearish on political change in Europe and Germany where all our attention is directed towards the maladies plaguing the continent and the political system is historically autocratic and unresponsive.

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