Car Culture, Mortgage Crisis, and Community

PBS’s NOW recently did a story on ex-burbia and car culture. You can watch it here: Driven to Despair

The show gives a good look at some of the connections between gas prices, urban sprawl, and the mortgage crisis — especially in Southern California. I was particularly interested in some of the fears middle class interviewees expressed about public transit. “Surrounded by strangers? I don’t know… just not my thing,” one driver said. Being able to quell this fear and help people at all income levels consider public transit, I think, could go a long way toward coming up with solutions — for cutting greenhouse gases, but also for creating a sense of community, ending isolationism, battling stereotypes, bringing diverse groups of people together, and creating more time and money for people in their lives. In short, I think cultivating a dependable public transit infrastructure can do a lot for our culture.

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