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2012

Tabascotask :Why No One Walks

Bram & Philippe. Sint-Norbertus Duffel 5A 1-11-2012

Car Culture in America When they first made their bumpy arrival on the American street scene in the early 1900s, automobiles were considered fussy toys for the rich and famous. Their cost and impracticality made them inaccessible for the average American. Henry Ford was the first to understand that while most Americans couldn't afford a car, virtually all of them wanted one. His Model T brought the automobile to middle class citizens and was the beginning of America's love affair with its cars. In the 1950s, the post-war boom produced a generation of teenagers with enough income to buy their own cars. These cars became so much more than just modes of transportation. They were reflections of a lifestyle. The ability to tune and soup-up muscle cars gave average Joes the opportunity to show off their power, their speed and their style in a way that personified the car as character. From the Streets to Songs Cars began to pervade American culture, not only on the streets and in local drive-ins, but in entertainment as well. In movies, the stars were often a combination of character and car. James Dean and his anti-establishment motorbike epitomized the "Rebel Without a Cause." The blonde in her white T-Bird -- Suzanne Somers' character in "American Graffiti" -- wasn't even given a name, just credited "Blonde in T-Bird." Even the hit songs of the 60s captured a generation and lifestyle focused on cars and girls. From the little Deuce Coupe to the '34 wagon, "Woody" to the little GTO, cars began to take center stage. Ever since, car culture has been a major niche lifestyle in America. In 2001, Universal Pictures' "The Fast and the Furious" opened #1 at the box office, outperforming movies with bigger budgets, megastars and expensive special events. The hot music, hip clothes and flashy cars gave the film a uniquely broad appeal. Plus, you didn't have to be a car enthusiast to "get it." Everyone could appreciate the high-performance machines and what they could do. The Evolution Continues - Cars Fast and Furiously Become Hot Properties Once Again "The Fast and the Furious," released in 2001, brought import car tuning to the forefront of teen culture and sparked a whole new generation of auto enthusiasts anxious to put their tuning skills to the test. NOPI (Number One Parts Inc.) sponsors The Fast and Furious Drag Racing series, which provides a fun, safe and lucrative opportunity for import tuner enthusiasts to test their mettle. The 2001 NOPI Nationals drew almost 85,000 people and the craze continues to grow. Craig Lieberman, an import tuner enthusiast who served as technical director on both the original "The Fast and the Furious" and this summer's sequel "2 Fast 2 Furious," believes auto tuning has become a phenomenon because it allows creativity and the thrill of "building your dream."

"We build these cars as a reflection of our personalities. They are blank canvasses and we can layer on our own perceptions of speed, beauty and power. And thanks to the growth of this industry over the past 3 years, we can now take our masterpieces to any number of auto shows or sanctioned races throughout the year." Today, 87 percent of the import tuner enthusiasts are involved in car shows. Car Collecting: Bridging Generations Collecting cars -- both real and scale model replicas -- has been growing right alongside America's growing passion for automobiles. The demand for highly-detailed scale model replicas of cars throughout history is evidenced by the wide availability and solid sales manufacturers such as Racing Champions and Ertl have experienced over the course of the past few decades. "Through our Ertl and Racing Champions brands, we have brought car collectibles to a much wider audience by replicating cars that have meaning in our culture," says Peter Henseler, president of RC2 Corporation. "From classic entertainment properties such as 'The Fast and The Furious,' 'American Graffiti,' 'Batman' and more to exciting NASCAR replicas to special anniversary edition models, we offer collectors a way to capture a memory, share an experience or aspire to a lifestyle that is particularly appealing to them. Collectible cars are an economical way to do this." Sharing car collections can also be a great way to bridge generations. Dads and grandfathers can share important facets of their lives with children and grandchildren through scale model replica collecting. "Car collectibles can truly be a way to bring different generations closer together," says Henseler. "A mutual appreciation of automobiles can transcend the differences in time." Racing Champions' die-cast collectible cars from "The Fast and the Furious" collection capture every detail of the cars that appeared in the first movie as well as those that are tearing up the streets in "2 Fast 2 Furious" this summer. Lieberman, who consulted with Racing Champions to ensure that the die-cast models looked authentic, believes this is the key to the appeal of the cars. "Racing Champions has captured the cars from the films down to the most minute detail. For example, the orange Toyota Supra from "The Fast and the Furious" was originally painted yellow, but the exterior was repainted orange prior to filming. The interior roll bar was never painted on the original car in the film, and it remains yellow on the Racing Champions die-cast replicas. It's this type of attention to detail that captivates car collectors and makes these top quality replicas must-haves for tuner fans." Racing Champions and Ertl die-cast collectible cars, including the new cars from "2 Fast 2 Furious," are available at Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target, as well as through many model and hobby stores nationwide. Bron : Car Culture in America. Geraadpleegd op 21/11/2012 via http://www.doityourself.com/stry/carculture#.UKzWDTDIiSo

America's love affair with the motor car is running on empty The number of miles driven by the average American has fallen since 2000. Photograph: Joe Baraban/Alamy America's love of driving is iconic. The open road is a central manifestation of America the free. During the 20th century, the total movement of cars and trucks on our national roads and highways grew as fast as our economy, or faster. Movement measured by total vehicle miles travelled (VMT) was considered an unqualified blessing. In the 1960s each American drove about 5,000 miles a year in a car, van, or truck. By 2000 that number was 10,000 miles. Which means we are twice as well off right? Wrong. In the early years of the 21st century, something very interesting happened. Individual vehicle travel in America lost its glamour and its connection to economic growth. In 2003 when VMT was 2.9 trillion miles, US gross domestic product was just under $11tr. In 2011 GDP passed $15tr while total vehicle travel was still about 2.9 trillion miles. In 2011 alone GDP went up 1.5% while VMT went down 1.5%. VMT per capita is receding as well, with each American now travelling less than 9,500 miles annually. America is not alone. The UK has experienced similar trends, with a 13% drop in annual trips by cars and vans since 1996, and a 4% reduction in annual distance travelled over the same time period. The ratio of vehicle miles travelled to GDP in the core EU 15 states has dropped by more than 10% since 2000. There are a number of explanations for why VMT is no longer growing at the same rate as GDP. Demand for shopping and business trips has slowed as these activities are increasingly conducted electronically. Internet-based social networks are fast replacing hanging out at the mall as a teenage pastime. Then there is the cost: fewer young people can afford car ownership the cost of insurance, fuel, and maintenance on even a used car is simply too high. Transportation policy has been slow to respond to this change in the way we prefer to travel and, at times, actively resists the shift in customer demand for cheaper, cleaner, on-demand travel choices. Forecasters continue to predict 1.6% annual increases in vehicular travel demand as far as the eye can see and are designing road and highway expansions to match. The Congressional Budget Office still links travel demand (and thus fuel tax revenues) directly to GDP growth. Earlier this year House leaders in Congress tried to strip funding for transit, bicycling, and pedestrian travel from the Highway Trust Fund, causing a backlash within their own ranks that forced them to drop a floor debate on the measure. In the absence of policy leadership, Americans are taking matters into their own hands. Baby boomers are giving up the suburbs for communities with more travel choices. Younger adults are delaying getting a driver's licence and, when they do, they are not buying cars or using them as much. Instead, they are embracing new forms of "collaborative consumption" sharing vehicles through car-share and bike-share programmes. New "smart apps" allow users to identify travel options to places they want to go on a real-time basis, then guide them to the nearest available vehicle whether bus, car, bicycle or train to get them there.

All age groups appear to be moving toward mixed communities where schools, businesses, residences, and shops are in close proximity even walking distance. Failure to recognise this sea-change in travel behaviour leads to massive misallocation of scarce infrastructure capital. If vehicular travel is, as it seems, decoupling from GDP growth, then transportation investments should respond by supporting a much broader array of travel behaviour than driving, including bus, bus rapid transit, shared ride services, cycling and safe pedestrian travel. America still stands for freedom but it is no longer just the freedom of the open road. Freedom to multitask while we travel. Freedom to access social networks, buy goods and services, and conduct business without sitting in traffic. Freedom to live in clean, healthy environments. In such a world, planning to accommodate more and more driving when the customer is signalling a desire for new transportation services makes no sense. The stagnation in VMT growth is an important indicator of how lifestyles are changing in America. It's about time our legislators designed transportation policies that suit our needs in the 21st century.

Bron : Burwell , D. (2012). Car culture in America. Geraadpleegd op 21/11/12 via www.guardian.co.uk

Glossary.
Pedestrianized : Making the environment carfree and friendly for people on foot. Astounded : Really amazed by something. Sedentary : The sitting life Sloth : Someone who is very lazy. Appallingly: Ontzettend. Sedate: bezadigd. Debonair: Joviaal / someone who is very fluently and happy. Kerb: The side of the footpath. Reluctantly:Doing something without willing to do it. Exuberantly : you can be exuberantly happy (uitbundig) Exasperating: Its exasperating if someone keeps annoying you. (ergerlijk) Notion : If you understand what someone is going through you have notion of it. (begrip) Aesthetically: esthetisch / modieuze verfijning Coo: (Gemopper) Like grumbling. Restive: unmanageable / rebellious.

Conclusion
Hi there ! We have read the column Why No One Walks by Bill Bryson. This column taught us about how America has become since the coming of the car. America is nowadays a carsociety. They use their car for everything. The average an American walks a day is about 320 meters. Even if the government tries to make it more pedestrianfriendly , they just decline it and start to shop somewhere else where they can use their car and dont have to go on foot. For us , this is not acceptable. Your health is in danger if you dont walk enough , it will give you more chance on getting obese. Sport and walking is good for you and your health. A second point is that using your car for everything hurts the environment because of all the carbondioxide the cars produce. In Belgium , we try to limit the use of our cars. Our government tries to do this by building shopping malls, Another way are the roadshops a few shops that are next to each other , with a (small?) parking so they dont have to drive to the next shop. The 3rd option is giving a sum of the money back when you buy an ecofriendly car. We can conclude that America is going the wrong way with the car society , they should try to get people to walk more , which will also improve their health. The Belgian way is more ecofriendly , which is probably more possible because of the much less inhabitants, which makes it possible for the government to support this kind of things.

Ill tell you this, but you'll have to promise that it will go no further. Not long after we moved here we had the people next door round for dinner and - I swear this is true - they drove. I was astounded (I recall asking them jokingly if they used a light aircraft to get to the supermarket, which simply drew blank looks and the mental scratching of my name from all future invitation lists), but I have since come to realise that there was nothing especially odd in their driving less than a couple of hundred feet to visit us. Nobody walks anywhere in America nowadays. A researcher at the University of California at Berkeley recently made a study of the nation's walking habits and concluded that 85 per cent of people in the United States are "essentially" sedentary; 35 per cent of the population are "totally" sedentary. The average American walks less than 75 miles a year - about 1.4 miles a week, barely 350 yards a day. I'm no stranger to sloth myself, but that's appallingly little. One of the things we wanted when we moved to America was to live in a town within walking distance of shops. Hanover, where we settled, is a small, typical New England college town, pleasant, sedate and compact. It has a broad green, an old-fashioned main street, nice college buildings with big lawns, and leafy residential streets. It is, in short, an agreeable, easy place to stroll. Nearly everyone in town is within a level five-minute walk of the shops, and yet as far as I can tell virtually no one walks. I walk to town nearly every day when I am at home. I go to the post office or library or the local bookshop, and sometimes, if I am feeling particularly debonair, I stop at Rosey Jekes Cafi for a cappuccino. All this is a big part of my life and I wouldn't dream of doing it other than on foot. People have got used to this curious and eccentric behaviour now, but several times in the early days, passing neighbours would slow beside the kerb and ask if I wanted a lift. "But I'm going your way," they would insist when I politely declined. "Really, it's no bother." "Honestly, I enjoy walking." Well, if you're absolutely sure", they would say, and depart reluctantly, as if they felt they were leaving the scene of an accident. People have become so habituated to using the car for everything that it would never occur to them to unfurl their legs and see what they can do. Sometimes it's almost ludicrous. The other day I was in a little nearby town called Etna waiting to bring home one of my children from a piano lesson when a car stopped outside the local post office and a man about my age popped out and dashed inside (and left the motor running - something else that exercises me inordinately). He was inside for about three or four minutes, then came out, got in the car and drove exactly 16 feet to the general store next door, and popped in, engine still running.

And the thing is, this man looked really fit. I'm sure he jogs extravagant distances and plays squash and does all kinds of exuberantly healthful things, but I am just as sure that he drives to each of these undertakings. It's crazy. An acquaintance of ours was complaining the other day about the difficulty of finding a place to park outside the local gymnasium. She goes there

several times a week to walk on a treadmill. The gymnasium is, at most, a six-minute walk from her front door. I asked why she didn't walk to the gym and do six minutes less on the treadmill. She looked at me as if I were tragically simple-minded and said, "But I have a programme for the treadmill. It records my distance and speed, and I can adjust it for degree of difficulty." It had not occurred to me how thoughtlessly deficient nature is in this regard. According to a concerned and faintly horrified recent editorial in the Boston Globe, the United States spends less than 1 per cent of its $25bn- a-year roads budget on facilities for pedestrians. Actually, I'm surprised it's that much. Go to almost any suburb developed in the last 30 years - and there are thousands to choose from - and you will not find a pavement anywhere. Often you won't find a single pedestrian crossing. I am not exaggerating. I had this brought home to me last summer when we were driving across Maine and stopped for coffee in one of those endless zones of shopping malls, motels, petrol stations and fast-food places that sprout everywhere in America these days. I noticed there was a bookshop across the street, so I decided to skip coffee and pop over. I needed a particular book and anyway I figured that this would give my wife a chance to spend some important private quality time with four restive, overheated children. Although the bookshop was no more than 50ft or 60ft away, I discovered that there was no way to get there on foot. There was a traffic crossing for cars, but no provision for pedestrians and no way to cross without dodging through three lanes of swiftly turning traffic. I had to get in the car and drive across. At the time it seemed ridiculous and exasperating, but afterwards I realised that I was probably the only person ever even to have entertained the notion of negotiating that intersection on foot.

The fact is, Americans not only don't walk anywhere, they won't walk anywhere, and woe to anyone who tries to make them, as a town here in New Hampshire called Laconia discovered to its cost. A few years ago Laconia spent $5m on pedestrianising its town centre, to make it a pleasant shopping environment. Aesthetically it was a triumph - urban planners came from all over to coo and take photos - but commercially it was a disaster. Forced to walk one whole block from a car park, shoppers abandoned downtown Laconia for suburban malls. In 1994 Laconia dug up its pretty brick paving, took away the benches and tubs of geraniums and decorative trees, and put the street back to the way it had been in the first place. Now people can park right in front of the shops again and downtown Laconia thrives anew. And if that isn't sad, I don't know what is.

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