Smoking is bad for your health, yet people still smoke. Driving is bad for your health, yet people still drive. Over the last half century we’ve worked hard to help people quit smoking and deter people from engaging in the behaviour in the first place. It’s time we help people quit driving and deter them from even starting.
The reasons people think they need are a car stem from many directions. The way cities and suburban locations are built are designed for limited mobility (car focused), cities don’t provide non-car options, and just like tobacco there’s big money encouraging everyone to drive. Over at Vox they’ve outlined multiple approaches to getting people out of their cars and into the world.
End single-family zoning to encourage mixed-use development
On its face, single-family zoning is a housing policy that creates quiet, uncrowded neighborhoods by restricting the development of apartments, townhouses, or any other dwelling thatâ€™s not a freestanding home. Itâ€™s incredibly prevalent in the US (75 percent of residential land is single-family zoned), and,Â as my colleague Jerusalem DemsasÂ points out, it is incredibly harmful. It has had a racist impact, having been used to exclude people of color from certain neighborhoods, and it overall increases the cost of housing by limiting supply.