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The reversion of European cities

This recent Economist article makes the argument that, despite the recent (and sometimes annoying) proliferation of electric scooters across Europe, we probably shouldn’t be that grouchy about them. And that’s, “because the rise of the electric scooter is part of a broader and welcome phenomenon: the gradual retreat of the car from the European city.” By way of one example, by next year, Paris will have grown its bike lane network by 50% in five years.

The article ends with the point that, while this may seem like a “revolution,” it’s actually a “reversion.” European cities such as Paris and Antwerp (examples from the article) were both built before the advent of the car and were never really designed for it, although Haussmann’s wide avenues certainly helped. All of this gets back to a point I tried to make over the weekend with this post about driving and parking, and the relevance of urban form.

Reversion is a lot easier than a revolution. And for most North American cities, a revolution is what’s needed if we are in fact serious about a post-car future.

Photo by Z Klein on Unsplash

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