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The Carfree Cities Manifesto

This is the compact Manifesto.
For a more detailed version of each Manifesto point, view the manifesto slideshow here

1. The Carfree Model Is Fully Feasible


The carfree model for planning cities is immensely relevant. Now more than ever, carfree cities are an urgent necessity. It is both technically and socially feasible to move forward with the creation of new carfree cities and the conversion of existing cities.


2. Unique Qualities of Carfree


A carfree city would deliver the highest quality of life for urban residents. A carfree city has significant advantages over other possibilities such as car-lite, shared-space, or traffic-calmed settings. No other model can deliver such superior results with such significant cost savings.


3. Carfree Supports Climate Goals


The carfree model would help achieve crucial goals to reduce the existential threat of climate change. Cities with a minimal to non-existent automobile footprint enable tremendous progress towards reaching climate goals.


4. Minimum Rights to Carfree Space


There is no essential right to drive a car. In contrast, all urban residents should have a guaranteed minimum right to green areas, public space, protected carfree areas, child-friendly areas, quiet spots, and clean air. In order to achieve this, urban planning design should allocate significant carfree space in every neighborhood in proportion to the resident population.


5. Bold and Swift Action


Bold action to improve urban areas is urgently needed, at an unprecedented scale and pace. Such action would help reduce the existential threats from the climate crisis.


6. 15-Minute City


Cities and residential neighborhoods should follow a mixed-use model, so that anyone can easily access all of the typical amenities that a city has to offer, moving easily between home, school, work, shopping, recreation, etc., without needing to travel long distances. Cities with short distances and mixed use zoning should be the norm.


7. Modal Shift


It is vital for the health of people and the planet that we rapidly and dramatically reduce the use of cars in cities. Cities need to enact policies that enable a shift from use of the automobile to sustainable and healthy modes such as walking, cycling, and public transport.


8. Modal Shift Requires Concrete Measures


Modal shift should be enshrined in any city's future vision or planning. If a city is willing to invest in improved conditions for walking, cycling, and public transport infrastructure, it also needs to include concrete measures for reduction of automobile trips.


9. Change Infrastructure

Currently far too much space in cities is devoted to infrastructure to serve automobiles, including roads, parking, fuel stations, and repair shops. Such spaces should be retooled or repurposed as safe and attractive corridors for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as abundant and attractive green and recreational spaces.


10. Public Transport


Public transport should serve as an attractive, reliable, and efficient backbone for urban mobility, gaining the attention, funding, and urban space it deserves. This includes a fairness principle of serving all population groups, neighborhoods, and socio-economic categories with high quality service.


11. Active Travel


Promotion of active travel should be a central component in designing transport policy. Walking and cycling should become convenient and attractive options, enjoying priority in planning, design, and budgeting. Automobile-related infrastructure that hinders active travel modes needs to be removed.


12. Small Steps on The Road to Transition


Small steps that improve the quality of urban areas and move our cities towards carfree are welcome and necessary. But such small steps must be part of a long-term, holistic transition to livable, carfree cities.


13. Public Participation


Citizens have the most to gain or lose from the development and allocation of urban spaces, and they should thus be included in the planning and development cycle. This should go beyond tokenism and allow for participation along the lines of deliberative democracy.


14. Equity Principle


Cities should provide affordable options for living and travelling to all of its citizens. Socially fair provisions should be the norm. Policy and planning must be utterly responsive to the needs of those with physical disabilities or reduced economic means. This also extends to the needs of children and families.


15. Replacing Conventional Cars with Electric Cars Is Misguided


Electric cars and automated vehicles (AVs) are obstacles to the transition to livable cities. Any role they may have in future cities should be subject to intense scrutiny and wide-scale public debate.

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