For the last 100 years, the car has come to dominate the urban landscape. Streets have been widened in many cities to accommodate automobiles, and huge amounts of space are given over to parking them. Private vehicles have revolutionised mobility, but they have also introduced many ills, from air pollution to traffic accidents. And today a small but growing number of cities are trying to design the car out of the urban landscape altogether.
Both Oslo in Norway and the Spanish capital Madrid have made headlines in recent years for their plans to ban cars from their centres – although neither have entirely got rid of them yet.
A city without cars sounds like a nice idea but is it possible – or even desirable? What about emergency services? Or people who have mobility problems? And what about sprawling suburbs; is the notion of going car free only relevant to young professionals who wish to live in compact city centres?