How Can The Built Environment Help Reduce Our Reliance On Personal Motor Vehicles?
Climate change is the single most Important issue that we face today. While there certainly are many different social and economic problems that we can attempt to solve through architecture, if our world is destroyed in the process then there is no point. An overwhelming majority of the harmful carbon emissions causing this problem are coming from two places: Buildings, and transportation. As architects, we know how to build sustainable buildings that use far less energy than what we currently do. The major crisis that has not been solved however, is the one of suburban traffic and congestion.
On the city scale, as a society we have many models and examples of how to handle urban public transportation. We have sustainable methods of transportation that people in dense cities currently use. These methods help cut down on harmful emissions within cities and allow people a means of travel without having to own a car. These methods of travel are also accepted by people of all social stature, and provide everyone access to transportation, regardless of income levels or social stature.
However, once we move to the suburban scale, there is a large problem which has not been addressed at all. Most people do not live near where they work and commute a substantial distance every day. Not only does this arguably contribute the largest amount of harmful emissions from the transportation sector, but with our ever-growing population, congestion is rapidly becoming a major problem.
Something must be done to address this growing problem. With climate change having greater effects on the environment around us, and with a steadily rising global population, this is a very real and growing problem. Are there more sustainable methods of transportation than cars? Can these methods be implemented on a larger, suburban scale? How can we get people to use these new methods of transportation instead of driving by themselves, in their own cars? Finally, can architecture somehow facilitate and promote a new method of transportation through buildings and communities?
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