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Transportation

Cars and Robust Cities Are Fundamentally Incompatible

50 years ago, experts predicted automobiles would drain the life from urban areas. Their predictions are coming true.
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Chris McCahill

Big roads and parking garages are so common in American cities that it's easy to forget these places once functioned exceptionally well without them. However, in their persistent battle to satisfy the demands of motorists, many urban areas are losing out.

In the early 1960s – when highway construction was at its peak and cars were just beginning to leave their mark – a handful of critics predicted there would be irreconcilable tensions between vibrant cities and their motorized inhabitants. Nearly 50 years later, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania published research validating this idea.