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The Rift In Society Essay

1268 words - 5 pages

The “city life” has changed its meaning throughout the course of history. When cities were first developed they were the epicenter of the community, packing residents, workers, and buildings all into one cohesive unit. City life had the most desirable aspects of living, the readiness of anything at hand, the ability to become close with one’s neighbor, and the relationships to the street. When cities were first being designed only the wealthy lived within the city limits because work was just a simple walk from the home. The only mode of transport was with either one’s own two legs or a horse and carriage; this made traveling long distances extremely difficult. Therefore, in order for a basic city to strive, its occupants had to generate a certain level of income as a self-sustaining community. As the human population grew and technology advanced, cities began to grow and expand. The roads were still designed and built for the use of the people and the horses, but the buildings began to raise to an almost inhuman scale as the epicenter cities spawned sub-cities around it. Now at this time city life has certainly gotten more rambunctious from its conception, but the people and city were still one self sufficient unit, until the advent of the motor vehicle. The American automobile changed the way people traveled, altering the make-up of the city from human scale to automobile scale. Soon the car dominated the landscape, which the construction of highways definitely showed. The motor vehicle is the one invention that changed American history, forever altering the way people experience the world.
In “Geography of Nowhere” by James Kuntsler, he describes all that is wrong with the American landscape, specifically citing the American automobile as the problem where all the devastation stemmed from. Kuntsler alludes to Americans becoming enslaved by their cars, which not only destroy the environment, but also the communities affected by the cars. Kunstler decries everything about automobiles stating that, “cars are evil” referring to their avid destruction of the relationship between the people and the planet. As I stated earlier cities used to be inhabited by the wealthy, but now they are inhabited by the poor. The advent of the car allowed people to travel long distances with relative ease, making a commute to a workplace a much easier task than it has ever been before, so as the wealthy acquired cars, they moved further and further away from the heart of the city. These people created the suburbs where nobody was self-sufficient and everything had to be imported and shipped into the town. This also created a massive influx of low-income housing popping up within the city since the poor were now being forced out of the rural areas and into the cities by the wealthy. The city life turned from a pleasant experience to an urban ghetto, filled with people who were either too poor or without a vehicle. The city flip-flopped from a sustainable utopia, to...

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