Art Lays it Bare

What do we accept without question? What is so accepted as normal that we never really SEE it?

Cars take up 70% of space in our cities – the bits not taken up by buildings. Visit a richer area of a city and you will see ranks of cars parked where we could have trees, cars driving where we could have children playing. Yet we accept it. It is a social norm.

The cars pollute our cities. We know they affect child development, and pollute those poor and Black areas most, those without cars tend to live closest to motorways.

Perhaps it is so normal we simply don’t see it. Artist Karl Jilg illustrates what happens when we see the cars, and see the space they take. Some cities have started to ‘get’ this and COVID-19 has accelerated changes to car-free spaces, but planning departments and planning thinking are still in the grip of 100 years of car propaganda.

Amsterdam, that forever-cycling city was just 50 years ago a grid-locked car hell. It took the children demanding play-streets to change this, illustrated in this brilliant film from 1972 and once people experienced getting their spaces back from cars it became a social norm, demanded not pleaded for.

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