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Car Free Day Car Free Day
by The Ovi Team
2017-09-22 09:04:38
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carfree01_400Every September 22, people from around the world get together in the streets, intersections, and neighbourhood blocks to remind the world that we don't have to accept our car-dominated society. But we do not want just one day of celebration and then a return to "normal" life. When people get out of their cars, they should stay out of their cars. It is up to us, it is up to our cities, and our governments to help create permanent change to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and other people who do not drive cars.

Let World Carfree Day be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars…365 days a year.  As the climate heats up, World Carfree Day is the perfect time to take the heat off the planet, and put it on city planners and politicians to give priority to cycling, walking and public transport, instead of to the automobile.

The events, which vary by location, give motorists and commuters an idea of their local with fewer cars. While projects along these lines had taken place from time to time on an ad hoc basis starting with the 1973/74 “oil crisis”, it was only in October 1994 that a carfree03_400structured call for such projects was issued in a keynote speech by Eric Britton at the International Ciudades Accesibles (Accessible Cities) Conference held in Toledo (Spain). Thursday: A Breakthrough Strategy for Reducing Car Dependence in Cities.

Within two years the first Days were organized in Reykjavík (Iceland), Bath (Britain) and La Rochelle (France), and the informal World Car Free Days Consortium was organized in 1995 to support Car-Free Days world wide. The first national campaign was inaugurated in Britain by the Environmental Transport Association in 1997, the French followed suit in 1998 as incarfree04_400 town, without my car! And was established as a Europe-wide initiative by the European Commission in 2000. In the same year the Commission enlarged the program to a full European Mobility Week which now is the major focus of the Commission, with the Car-Free Day part of a greater new mobility whole. Also in 2000, car free days went global with a World Carfree Day program launched by Carbusters, now World Carfree Network, and in the same year the Earth Car Free Day collaborative program of the Earth Day Network and the World Car Free Days collaborative.

While considerable momentum has been achieved in terms of media coverage, these events turn out to be difficult to organize to achieve real success (perhaps requiring significant reorganization of the host city's transportation arrangement) and even a decade later there is considerable uncertainty about the usefulness of this approach. The sine qua non of success is the achievement of broad public support and commitment to change. By some counts by advocates (disputed), more than a thousand cities worldwide organized “Days” during 2005. The results have been extremely uneven.

So take the time, browse the links and resources provided, and join in on the celebrations!

 


    
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