The near total dominance of cars and car infrastructure in American cities aren’t just killing us directly in crashes, it’s harming us every day through less obvious health effects. “It puts people in a constant state of stress,” said Melissa Bruntlett, co-author of Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives, a new book from IslandPress, during a talk Wednesday morning at SPUR that focused on life in the Dutch city of Delft.
Obesity, mental health, pollution, isolation–cities designed around the automobile contribute in multiple ways to poor health outcomes in North America. As Melissa and her husband and co-author Chris Bruntlett point out, everyone knows this intuitively; it’s why people go on vacation to escape the city.
However, “Our cities are meant to be places to connect. They shouldn’t be places we need to escape to recharge,” she said.
This has created a more equitable city, where even people who can’t afford a car or can’t drive have the freedom to move about safely. He adds that expecting the elderly, the disabled, and children to “share the road” with giant automobiles, as is so often the case in North American cities, is ridiculous and unfair. “That’s a power imbalance. We need to make our transportation investment to help people with less power and less mobility.”