September 12, 2006
Bookshelf: How to Live Well Without Owning a Car
OK, I caught up on my reading.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author takes us through not just the financial investment we put in our cars, but also the time, energy and angst we put in to maintaining them, and convincingly makes the case that we're better off without.
But that's only the beginning. Balish shows how being car free actually improves your social life (you're more likely to organize things like joint shopping trips with friends, rather than drive those errands solo).
He also has practical strategies for making it work, like the Triple Redundancy approach to having three ways to get to work (mine would be bike-on-bus, bus-only, Flexcar). And he has strategies to cover a whole range of non-work situations as well. Wife about to give birth? No problem, rent a car for the month, reserving well in advance to get a low monthly rate. This is about not owning a car, not about never driving one.
He also points out how many trips are avoidable or just unnecessary if you take the time to think about it (not unlike my recent experience).
There are quotes from many car-free folks, several from Portlanders, including two from Portland Transport contributors (you'll have to read the book to find out who).
And the cartoons by Andy Singer are terrific.
But overall, my best impression of the book is that he makes the case for a car-free life being a joyfully care-free life, not a life of restrictions.
September 12, 2006 2:48 PM
I love this entry... and the cartoons from Singer... and I think I'll read the book.
I have a car, but rarely do I rely on it for life at all. It serves a single purpose. "track day"! :)
September 13, 2006 12:28 AM
I too have been trying to live car free, or with less car and came up with these 10 tips ( carfreeincalifornia.blogspot.com/2006/09/ten-tips-for-carfree-or-less-car.html) to help out.