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Carfree Cities Paperback – November 1, 2002

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Editorial Reviews


Carfree Cities offers up a vision of a sustainable city that provides an exceptional quality of life for its citizens. . . . A must read not only for academics and students, but for anyone who cares about people and cities.” —Eric Britton, Ecoplan International and The Commons, Paris

About the Author

J. H. Crawford has worked as a consultant, designer, photographer, editor, and writer.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: International Books (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9057270420
  • ISBN-13: 978-9057270420
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,581,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Martin P. Cohen on December 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
What I like best about this book is that Crawford supplies sufficient detail to convince you that his is no utopian vision. He has carefully thought out all the inticacies. His plan is doable with current technology. If the devil is in the details then he has exorcised the devil.

The first part of the book argues the case for carfee cities. He outlines all the drawbacks to what he calls the autocentric city. He explains the cost in terms of health, economics and sociology. In my case he was preaching to the choir, but this part was still fun to read.

The second and main part of the book describes how to achieve his vision. He emphasizes current technology although some of the uses are innovative, like the use of subways for delivering freight. Included is an interesting tutorial on containerized shipping, which is a major component of his plan. In reading this I was able to visualize life in the carfree city. At most a five minute walk to public transportation followed by a leisurely ride of at most 25 minutes and then another walk of at most 5 minutes. 35 minutes from any part of a city of up to one million people to any other part. Each stop of the subway or tram is the center of a separate district, which he visualizes in the European style of a piazza with streets radiating out from it. The narrow streets are filled with shops, houses and parks and pedestrians meeting and greeting one another. This is where I want to live!

In the final part of the book he describes how to reach his vision. He understands that before becoming universal the plan must be tested and perfected before people will become convinced. First single districts will have to be tried. Then parts of existing cities will need to be re-engineered.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By T.J. Binkley on April 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Would you like to live in a truly genuine community: where local shopkeepers, familiar faces, and quiet streets recreate the small-town ambience so many of us crave? ...And yet the magic and excitement of the city is also just fifteen minutes away... aboard a fast, safe, clean, energy-efficient train ( a metro, that stops at your stop every four minutes, all hours of the day, and continues running all night)?
Would you enjoy living in a place where the kids can get to school in the morning; to soccer practice in the afternoon; to grandma's over the weekend; and to their friend's house anytime.... without having to ask mom for a ride? Where senior citizens may sit in nearby parks while children play; instead of being sentenced to the isolation of a retirement 'community'? ... Where they can reach the nearby doctor or the market on foot?
For the intrigued skeptic, J. H. Crawford's, "Carfree Cities" provides a comprehensive review of existing, successful patterns of urban development; as well as several proven technologies for conveniently and efficiently transporting people and freight. The accompanying website... offers a quarterly update of developments in a few new car free residential neighborhoods ( in Amsterdam, Vienna and Hamburg ); as well as the popular and growing car free districts in many historic city centers: in Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere. Crawford, a former public transport ombudsman for the State of New Jersey, combines the best of all of this into a brilliantly coherent Reference Design for a car free city. A benchmark, which can be adapted to fit the unique needs and topography of almost any area.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Will Stewart on October 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
What can we do about smog, traffic congestion, traffic fatalities, excessive energy consumption, unhealthy lifestyles, and sprawl, among others? The author identifies a solution to this problem, and surprisingly, one that has been proven in a number of countries. We have been sleepwalking into undesirable land use patterns (sprawl) for so long that we take it for granted that it is normal. Yet we complain about all the serious problems sprawl creates as though we can do nothing about it. For the first time, the solution by J.H. Crawford addresses these concerns with a carefully thought-out, well-supported framework: the carfree planning approach. Outrageous as this may first sound, it is already being practiced in many cities around the globe, notably in Europe. Cars are not totally removed from the equation, but serve less frequent, more focused roles. With oil resources steadily dwindling, such a proposal merits top-shelf prominence among visionary planners and developers alike. This book has changed my land use planning outlook completely.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nikos A. Salingaros on November 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Carfree Cities is a pathbreaking work that outlines how human beings can live in an urban environment entirely free from cars. As someone working to uncover mathematical forces that shape urban form, I appreciate Crawford's efforts and applaud his conclusions. I personally believe that the city of the future will have to combine many different means of transportation, including the hated/loved car, but it is not clear to most planners how to achieve this. Crawford's book provides a well thought-out plan for pedestrian life, which, in the hands of an enlightened urbanist, can be used to drastically improve the quality of existing cities.
Therefore, while I don't necessarily accept Crawford's total exclusion of cars, I find his solutions vitally important to the future of cities. Furthermore, I don't think that anyone would have taken him seriously unless he did what he has done: to show that a totally carfree solution is possible. Not only is it possible, but Crawford has shown that it is both feasible and practical. Congratulations to him for this outstanding work.
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