Essay on ashphalt nation


Road engineering

Or the words commuter and parking. For a nation that prides itself on the freedom of movement and the long weekend, this seems nearly impossible. Writing at the cutting edge of urban and technological history, McShane focuses on how new transportation systems—most important, the private automobile—and new concepts of the city redefined each other in modern America. We swiftly motor across the country from Boston to New York to Milwaukee to Los Angeles and the suburbs in between as McShane chronicles the urban embrace of the automobile. McShane begins with mid-nineteenth century municipal bans on horseless carriages, a response to public fears of accidents and pollution.

After cities redesigned roads to encourage new forms of trasnport, especially trolley cars, light carriages, and bicycles, the bans disappeared in the s. With the advent of the automobile, metropolitan elites quickly and permanently established cars as status symbols. Asphalt Nation is a powerful examination of how the automobile has ravaged America's cities and landscape over the past years together with a compelling strategy for reversing our automobile dependency.

Jane Holtz Kay provides a history of the rapid spread of the automobile and documents the huge subsidies commanded by the highway lobby, to the detriment of once-efficient fo Asphalt Nation is a powerful examination of how the automobile has ravaged America's cities and landscape over the past years together with a compelling strategy for reversing our automobile dependency.

Jane Holtz Kay provides a history of the rapid spread of the automobile and documents the huge subsidies commanded by the highway lobby, to the detriment of once-efficient forms of mass transportation.

What's In Asphalt?

Demonstrating that there are economic, political, architectural, and personal solutions to the problem, she shows that radical change is entirely possible. This book is essential reading for everyone interested in the history of our relationship with the car, and in the prospect of returning to a world of human mobility. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title.

Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Asphalt Nation , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.

The Interstate Highway System - Definition, Purpose & Facts - HISTORY

Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 07, Anna rated it really liked it Recommends it for: city planners, bikers, walkers, urbanites. Shelves: urban-affairs , nonfiction , environment. Now I think it's slightly propaganda-ish, but it's still a damn good book and anyone that thinks the world is way too auto-oriented will appreciate this.

Lots of fun facts and a pleasure to read.

Down the Asphalt Path

Sep 15, Hilary rated it liked it. I started this book enthusiastically but soon lost steam. It's split into three sections. The first diagnoses the problem, the second gives the history behind it, the third offers solutions. The book could have been half its size.

The Interstate Highway System

That said, it's a huge and fascinating topic - the car-driven pun society in which we live and how that is killing: our economy, sense of community, environment, mass transit, beautiful architecture, and i I started this book enthusiastically but soon lost steam. That said, it's a huge and fascinating topic - the car-driven pun society in which we live and how that is killing: our economy, sense of community, environment, mass transit, beautiful architecture, and is helping the trend towards more obesity.


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Quite a lot. And I agree with her wholeheartedly. I found the history part particularly interesting - how highways are funded, how the New Deal played a role and what that meant to mass transit, and much more. I would recommend skimming the first and third section just to read the second. But there lies the rub And I did. The third section was rough at times. It was written in , I think, and is no longer as relevant as it once may have been.

I also flat out disagreed with some of her solutions. If you read the book, let's discuss. Sep 17, Omi rated it liked it. This book, written in , really shows its age. It's packed with a lot of stories but not a lot of sources on the research than on the effect of automobile-ization of America.


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  7. It's okay to read for someone who lives a vert car-centric life. But I think other books are better. Mar 18, Sarah rated it really liked it. Although this book is over 15 years old now, much of it is still relevant. Boston's Big Dig is over, some of the trails, train lines, bikepaths, and Interstates have been widened or lengthened. But the way that many people approach autos has shifted only slightly and only in certain parts of the country. The US is still auto-centric, hard-on-public-transportation country - still happy to call road costs worthwhile and a train subsidy wasteful spending even when the money is coming from the same Although this book is over 15 years old now, much of it is still relevant.

    The US is still auto-centric, hard-on-public-transportation country - still happy to call road costs worthwhile and a train subsidy wasteful spending even when the money is coming from the same place.

    Apocalypse Now? The Nation

    I found this very enlightening and helpful in understanding where the US was coming from in its rush for the automobile and all it seemed to stand for, and getting an idea of where we went wrong and where we might think of going next. Sep 05, Kevin rated it liked it. Oct 16, Margaret Anton rated it did not like it.

    This book has an interesting premise, but not enough of one to take up a whole book. It felt like the author was beating a dead horse most of the time, and each of the chapters should have been condensed down to one page.

    KIRKUS REVIEW

    The return on investment information received for time spent was so low that I would not recommend this book. Feb 25, Marilyn Geary rated it really liked it. Low on references, but still a good read. Jan 10, Stephen rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , transportation , driving , poverty , critical-history. Relatively young, it came of age in the early industrial period, where access to profoundly powerful technologies shaped its growth in a way not seen in Europe or Asia, where new influences worked against what was already there.

    This is most obviously seen in a comparison of dense, almost compact European cities, and their American counterparts, which sprawl out for mile after dreary mile and -- with some exceptions for cities which date to he United States is in ways a nation without a history. This is most obviously seen in a comparison of dense, almost compact European cities, and their American counterparts, which sprawl out for mile after dreary mile and -- with some exceptions for cities which date to the 18th century -- often lack a distinctive center.

    This radically different urban landscape is the mark of the automobile: while Europe's cities were built for people, America's cities and now its sprawl are made for cars. Americans embraced the automobile like no other nation, and now after a century of giving it dominion, are slowly waking up to the price. No green and pleasant land, we are a nation covered in asphalt and mired in traffic. In Asphalt Nation, Jane Holtz Kay examines the consequences of the United States' self-made dependency on the car, explains how it came to be that way, and offers ways for recovering a sensible approach to urbanism.

    Although some of the costs of the automobile are obvious -- pollution; the economic drain of cars on private households to pay for insurance, maintenance, and gas; and thousands of lives each year -- the greatest harm is more subtle, in deforming the urban landscape. The automobile's effect on American urbanism has been marked by purposeful decentralization and the rise of sprawl, a disaster for the nation. Not only does sprawl create manifestly hideous cityscapes, but it drives cities into bankruptcy as they attempt to cover greater areas with less efficiency.

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