When I was in school, I wrote an essay on redesigning the car. It seemed to me if you were going to start from scratch, you’d tackle the transport quite differently. I never understood why we push around two tons to get our shopping home.
Later in life, it continued to strike me how much land we cede to cars. Back in Melbourne, I used to drive past Victorian mansions on thoroughfares like Hoddle Street and Punt Road. Two streets over and they’d be architectural marvels. Here, on the noisy main road, it’s marginal commercial real estate.
More recently I was in Seattle. A beautiful city that’s cleaved in two by the I-5 freeway, amongst others. What if that was open space instead? Boston did this when they created a tunnel for the I-95, creating North End park. Called the “Big Dig,” it was sadly a plagued project with numerous controversies. However, as a visitor, it’s hard to miss how this project transformed the North End of Boston and opened up the city.