02/05/2009 12:21 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

10 Reasons Private Cars Will Become Obsolete

This is an ancillary post designed to woo the reader to follow my evolving Pattern Language series in which I discuss Christopher Alexander's classic Pattern Language in reference to its online incarnation. The essential links for this are below:



1. Initial Cost -- with $30K as a general base figure, we are looking at an impossibility for most and and an unwise purchase for many.

2. Money Pit -- Not only fuel but all other expenses associated with having a private car. This is the trick the past economy plays on us all. The other big Money Pit is the detached home.

3. Time is money. Whether true or not, the time spent driving on congested arteries is a personal loss-leader.

4. Commuting is going to decline. As we move into the next stage, work will become decentralized and cyber-facilitated. Internet cafes will morph into secure office nodes close to homes of workers. The trade-off will be better performance and less emphasis on filling empty work hours. Competence will be rewarded. This is what makes Obama's broadband emphasis far-seeing.

5. Seismic Culture Shift. I believe most of what we call metrosprawl is so horrendous that it will be imploded or torn down within a decade or two and replaced by human settlements that incorporate the social, cultural and commercial features of cities and towns. These will be car-free. There will be a corresponding evolution of public vehicular transport. These will replace cars over time. This seismic change will essentially replace the one home and two car garage mentality.

6. Geriatric Warp. As the population, ages there will be insistence on existence that does not mandate ownership of a car. Buses will evolve as will the uses of existing rail beds as mental energy becomes more focused on the idea of a post-automobile world.

7. Entrepreneurial Options. The US will only get out in front of the emulative flow of global commerce by developing the model for a post oil society. This will be the economic motivation to release money to build the models of car-free human settlements.

8. Zoning Reprogramming. Today's zoning is primitive. The zoning of the future will allow for a mix of everything needed to enhance life within walking distance. Cars will become things you rent to tale a trip in the country. Essentially shops and concerns will be branches of Web-based warehousing and delivery systems. But uinst4ead of being housed in monster highway hangars they will be part of pedestrian accessed commercial nodes scattered through car-free human settlements.

9. Individualism Reconsidered. The selling point for cars is the fatuous assumption that a car expresses one's individuality. This has been true in the past but the economic crisis is changing the definition of a valid individualism. Henceforth, a valid individualism will become more and more the exercise of choices that make less and less attractive the congestion, accident rates and design disasters that can be associated with the dominance of the automobile. Cars will become matters of choice rather than necessity. Over time their use and essentiality will decline.

10. A New Economy. The jobs of the future will be entirely different than they are now. They will be closer to home and more micro, as in: the people who run the mini-educational and mini-health services, etc., that will become the standard features of pedestrian human communities.

BONUS REASON -- We are free to build what we want to build. We are not captive to what looks as though it will dominate us forever.