Communities without roads

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Jan 23, 2005, 2:10:05 AM1/23/05
Change the Way you Travel

Fancy a Sequel? The hydrogen-powered Honda FCX (fuel cell) has been
used by the city of Los Angeles since December 2002. Hydrogen power is
taking off in a big way. A hybrid hydrogen-powered bus is used by
SunLine Transit. Hydrogen can be generated by a wind-powered facility.

At AngelsNest, water is captured from the roof and is recycled. Power
is generated by solar panels, wind turbine and hydrogen.

Communities without roads

Why not be more radical? Have a look at the Segway and imagine it -
communities without roads! Instead of driving a car, just walk to your
local restaurants or meeting places. Also have a look at the iBot which
is great for people who need wheelchairs - because it can climb stairs
it gives easy access to many places. How about letting everyone who
needed it use an iBot, instead of pouring money into improving
wheelchair access to buildings?

Think about it! About half the urban area is taken up by roads and
greenstrips between roads. A substantial part of roads, buildings and
gardens is also used to park cars. Without cars and roads, we could
live closer together; that would be great for people who complement
each other in one way or another; they could live closer to each other
and see each other more often.

If we used personal aircraft such as helicopters, microlights and the
Skycar for long disance travell, we could also do without airports, and
instead take off and land in our backyards.

Change the Way you Work

Instead of working in an office, we could do most things from home. In
fact, you could work anywhere. The cell-phone motto appears to be:
anything, anywhere, anytime!

Nowadays, you can not only make video phone calls with your mobile
phone, you can browse the web, use email, take pictures or record sound
and video. It's also TV, a radio, a video player, an alarm clock with
alert messages and a GPS locator.

And what about your watch? You can have a TV-watch or a GPS locator
watch. You can have a watch with built-in flash-memory and a USB-cord
that folds back into the armband. Dick Tracy eat your heart out! Have a
look at the watches list for more!

Change the Way you Learn

Of course, the same goes for learning. Why go to University, when you
can follow courses online? Homeschooling has long proven to be much
more effective than school.

Books like Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich and the books by John
Holt are classics, pointing at the many shortcomings of school.

Change Health Care

Once the grip of the University over health care has been broken, we
can also have a closer look at how we deal with health issues. Just
have a look at the excellent DVD called Patch Adams. Isn't health
closely related to lifestyle, to what we eat, the way we eat, how we
move around, how we meet people? Read on!

Change the Way you Live

Do you see a picture emerging here? In communities without roads, urban
design could be changed dramatically! Houses could be smaller, as
there's no need to put cars in garages. Without roads, houses could
also be built much closer together - that in itself could reduce travel
time. Simple pathways would be sufficient! Imagine it: communities
without roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, railway tracks and railway
stations! Such a new lifestyle could result in huge savings on cars,
roads, office buildings, carparks, garages, petrol stations, etc. How
much time and money could we save by reducing our daily travel between
home and work? And how many lives would be saved if we had less

Afraid that without roads, you won't have other infrastructure, such as
sewerage, running water and electricity? Here in Australia, we've got a
long tradition of waterless toilets, composting, rainwater tanks and
dirt-roads. Alternative lifestyles have, in their aim for
self-sufficiency, often rejected high-tech solutions. But why not use
technology to our advantage? A mud-brick or sand wall can provide
excellent insulation to protect you from heat or cold, and it can also
block out noisy neighbors. Using headphones can avoid unnecessary
animosity and enhance privacy; noise-cancelling technology in
headphones and speakers can reduce background noise to a fraction.
Security systems can further help avoiding hostilities between people.
Solar-powered motion sensors can trigger floodlights and alarms, which
in combination with cameras can enhance security and lower health
risks. Why not use satellites and interconnected WiFi LANs, instead of
Cable-TV and phone lines? Mobile phones and GPS-technology can make
great contributions towards our safety and security. The iPod shuffle
fits in the palm of your hand and looks great around your neck. With
the Flash Trax you can back up your files, view photos and videos and
listen to music. Store your photos and data at multiple places and you
need to worry less about theft or loss in fire or accidents.

All such devices need ever less power, while new technologies extend
the usage-time of rechargeable batteries. If we used more GPS-enabled
devices, motion detectors and surveillence cameras, we could increase
safety and security in and around the home, thus requiring less
emergency services. Indoor and outdoor lanterns, solar-powered by day,
can light up the home and garden in the evening. A combination of a
rechargeable battery and a wind-up clockwork is successfully used by
FreePlay in products such as radios, flashlights and mobile phone
chargers. Grundig has a radio that is powered either by either AC, by 3
AA batteries or by hand crank - a built-in charger can be "cranked up"
by hand. At MultiPowered Products, many such items can be ordered
online. Solar panels can now provide enough power to run run 12V
lights, pumps, fans, and small appliances such as TVs, VCRs and
stereos. The ColdMate, a small portable fridge, operates quietly and
ozone-friendly on a thermoelectric (peltier cooling) system and comes
with a 9 ft detachable 12V DC power cord.

Change the Way you Eat and Shop

Currently, the most fertile land is taken for urban use, most of it for
roads and gardens (with grass as the dominant crop). With more land
available for hobby farming, growing fruit and vegetables could be
cheaper and the cost of food could come down dramatically. In a new
urban design, houses could be built around restaurants and meeting
places. People can more easily go out to eat in restaurants, because
there's no traffic and parking hassle, it's just a short stroll or ride
on the Segway instead. Many restaurants have embraced wireless
services, so take a notebook with you and you're really connected for a
business lunch! Or, take a Tablet PC and use a stylus to scribble down
your notes and share them! Eating out means less shopping, since food
makes up most of our shopping. It also saves a lot of time - no more
shopping, cooking, diswashing and cleaning, no rubbish to get rid of.
Most items we need can be ordered by mail-order, so get a good mailbox
and get a Post Office box at a post office. By the way, why should we
have to pay extra to get such a box? After all, doesn't it save a lot
on postal delivery cost? And shouldn't we similarly get a discount when
posting the mail at the Post Office, rather than at a remote mailbox?

You would Change the World

Wouldn't all this change the world? Wouldn't dictatorial government
have less control in communities without roads? Speed-cameras, parking
fees and fines, tax on cars and petrol, all too often they have become
revenues that government has become dependent on. Roads are typically
government-owned, police are most visible on roads, people are
controlled by traffic rules, car licence plates and driver's licences.
Further control is exercised through public transport, taxi licencing,
etc. If we wanted to make people free, wouldn't it make sense to start
looking at roads?

Communities without roads.
(From the series: Change the World!)
Posted with permission from:


Jan 23, 2005, 8:26:04 PM1/23/05
Fascinating! I do see a lot of scope for such communities, but I think
a lot of people will want to keep a house in the city and a car.
Perhaps such communities could be built as a University campus, an
old-folks resort or holiday retreat, where people could came to visit
and have an apartment or second home or so. It will have to be in a
nice climate, because if it's too cold or rainy, people will want to
use cars. Deserts are therefore good places to start up such
communities, there's also a need to preserve water, there's plenty of
sun for solar energy and there's no urban infrastructure to start with
as it's so remote.

Message has been deleted


Jan 25, 2005, 1:16:49 AM1/25/05
Yeah, it does make you think more about things like this. But should we
picture communities, which gives the impression that people live and
work there permanently? It may well be the case for some, but wouldn't
most people be visitors, like the masses now browsing through shopping
malls or flea markets? If most people will be visitors, shoppers,
conference delegates, students, tourists, etc, shouldn't we then focus
on them, rather than the inhabitants who live and work there? Shouldn't
we look at such places primarily as combinations of meeting places,
with restaurants, cafes, hotels, shopping malls, festivals, tourists
resorts and holiday retreats, rather than communities where people


Jan 27, 2005, 6:36:18 AM1/27/05
I think we should seriously consider banning all cars that create
pollution and greenhouse gasses. Furthermore, we'll need to look at
alternatives to burning coal to generate electricity. We need to look
at alternative ways to generate energy.


Jan 27, 2005, 8:59:40 PM1/27/05
Banning all cars that create pollution and greenhouse gasses would mean
that only hydrogen fuel cell cars would be allowed. Wouldn't that be
too radical a step? I don't think that would be politically feasible.
But I do see a lot of scope for fuel cells and I see the majority of
cars turn to hydrogen within the next decade.


Jan 27, 2005, 10:07:34 PM1/27/05
Banning cars doesn't necessarily mean prohibiting them legally. Simply
putting up "no access"-signs would still require police, courts, fines,
even prisons. That means extra cost and trouble, which could indeed be
politically unacceptable.

Cars could instead be banned by default, e.g. people could decide to
stop using cars if they became too expensive, compared to alternatives.
Or, people could decide to stop using cars because of the environmental

What I like about the idea of Communities without Roads is that cars
can effectively be banned (from the inner community) by designing
communities without roads. Building houses closer together effectively
keeps cars out without the need for police, etc.

It's done before in the inner city where cars are banned from the main
shopping street, which is turned into a pedestrian-only area, if
necessary by putting up poles. The same for shopping malls, university
campus, festivals, etc. Some area definitely see an economic and social
benefit in keeping out cars altogether. Instead of applying this to a
small area only, we should look at applying it to entire communities.


Jan 30, 2005, 2:12:15 AM1/30/05
I just read an interesting article saying that passenger numbers have
dropped for long-distance rail travel in Queensland Australia. Of the
dwindling number of people who did use the trains, more than three
quarters were travelling for free or on heavily subsidised fares. It
appears that the train cannot compete with road and air travel. How
does this fit into the picture of communities without roads?


Jan 31, 2005, 4:43:07 AM1/31/05
I think we have to consider letting railways go as a way for people to
travel between cities. Trains are too expensive, unsafe, slow, etc.
Perhaps it's just a perception, but it seems clear that they cannot
compete with air travel. Most people don't live close to a railway
station anyway.

As the above figures show, trains are used a lot by people who have
reduced fares (that's on top of the fact that trains are already
subsidized). Also, public schools, universities, hospitals and many
other government-owned institutions and facilities are often built
close to railway stations, which causes maore train traffic, e.g. by
students who again get cheaper fares. But that means they are likely to
artificially increase rail usage, since market forces do not apply as
much. My guess is that, if the market was to decide, trains would have
disappeared long ago.

Another way government artificially enhances the use of public buses
and trains is by using taxi licences. Such licences are just an extra
tax that raises taxi fares and thus makes them less competitive
compared with public buses and trains. Furthermore, taxis are regulated
in all kinds of ways and the licensing system means there's usually a
shortage of taxis. How about getting rid of taxi licensing altogether?
That would mean that many people wouldn't need a car and could pay a
friend to drive them in case they really needed to go somewhere.

Once you start thinking about all the ways government uses to shape the
system in its mould, the mind boggles. Look at zoning. Government only
allows people to work in one area, zoning it as industrial, while they
live in a residential-only zone. They are forced to travel in order to

Let's give these communities without roads a try and let's see whether
we can make it work. The main obstacle is government. If we can keep
government from putting its dirty hands into everything for just a
moment in just a few places, such communties will take off like that
and thrive!


Feb 6, 2005, 12:44:23 AM2/6/05
Sounds good! Worth a try!


Feb 16, 2005, 1:58:41 AM2/16/05
By the way, what exactly does it mean, communities without roads? I
take it there will still be roads in between communities? If not what
would be the alternative?

Here in Australia, only 59.1% of the roads are sealed with a bitumen
surface. The rest is unsealed and typically called "dirt roads", even
though some of them have gravel. The problem with dirt roads is that
they quickly get potholes, especially when it rains. Furthermore, cars
can throw up quite a bit of sand when travelling over them. This can
cause car damage, accidents, as well as environmental damage.

How sound is the environmental argument against roads? Wouldn't
environmental impact be worse without roads, if people all drove
4-wheel drive trucks over dirt roads?

gaston olvera

Feb 16, 2005, 2:25:51 PM2/16/05
Sounds like the Mad Max world.

About the enviromental impact...
I agree that roads create storm runoff, erosion and the heat island
effect. But is completely true that a good even finished concrete or
asphalt road traveled in a car with small high pressured inflated
tires would give a better milage than say a dirt road traveled by a
hummongous Hummer.

Plus...I would prefer a good high speed train system linking cities.
Where you could take your bicycle with you.



Feb 16, 2005, 11:52:57 PM2/16/05
Good point, I guess there are four different ways to travel between
cities, e.g. by road, ship, train or plane. By road would include
personal cars, taxis, buses, but of course roads can also be used by
pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, scooters and all kinds of electric
vehicles. Has there been any major cost-benefits analysis comparing all
of these?

Sam Carana

Feb 18, 2005, 2:05:49 AM2/18/05
Government subsidizes travel by train and buses, while taxi services
are restricted by costly licences. It appears that the market
indications are that air travel is most suitable for long distance
travel, while cars are better for shorter distances.

Sam Carana

Nov 3, 2007, 6:29:15 AM11/3/07

Wild Green Yonder

Boeing recently announced that it will have a hydrogen plane in the air later this year. The Boeing Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane is scheduled to fly at an altitude of about 2,000 feet (610 meters). The plane has a wing span of 16.3 meters (53.5 feet) and can fly at a speed of about 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour.


The technology is identical to what is used in hydrogen cars such as the Ford HySeries, GM's HydroGen4 and Kia's 4×4 Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle, i.e. tanks holding hydrogen in the form of compressed gas, fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries and electric motors, in the case of this plane a single motor coupled to a conventional propeller.

Just like cars can (and already are) getting their electricity and hydrogen from the solar panels on top of parking lots, planes could similarly be powered from clean energy, such as from solar or wind power facilities in our backyards.

Boeing first announced the electric plane project in November 2001, when it said the first test flights could begin in early 2004. At the time, there was even speculation that the first flight would coincide with the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first powered flight back in December 17th, 2003. Those plans have since been pushed back several times, but it now looks like it is finally going to happen.

Planes like this have the potential to reshape the face of the world. Imagine if we all used personal aircraft instead of cars. We no longer needed any roads, nor large, noisy airports. Instead we could use small airstrips to take off and land, perhaps in our backyards.

Communities without roads constitute a dramatic change in urban design. Houses could be smaller, as there's no need to put cars in garages. Without roads, houses could also be built much closer together - that in itself could reduce travel time. Simple pathways would be sufficient, connecting all such houses with a center comprising of shops, restaurants, medical specialists, lecture theaters, all within walking distance. Imagine the cost savings on cars, roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, railway tracks and railway stations, on gasoline and service stations. People could largely work from home and meet at facilities of the center closeby, resulting in further savings on office buildings and their car parking facilities.

There would also be huge time savings; given an abundance of small landing strips, planes could take us in a more direct line from one place to another, as opposed to the congested road system where cars line up for a multitude of traffic lights. GPS-navigation and radar technology could also result in a spectacular drop in traffic accidents; after all, there is much more space in the (three-dimensional) sky than on the (two-dimensional) ground.

To help such developments take off, we need to tax items that cause greenhouse gas emissions, such as fossil fuel, meat and fertilizers, with the tax proceeds going to local supply of better alternatives, such as solar and wind power, agrichar and vegan-organic food served in restaurants in communities without roads.

Please support our efforts to change the world and copy, post or email this article widely!

Into the Wild Green Yonder - Boeing's super-clean fuel-cell aircraft will create history this year with aviation's first zero-emissions flight

Boeing's fuel cell-powered electric demonstrator airplane - August 2003

Boeing Announces Partners for Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane Project - July 11, 2003

The Hydrogen Economy - articles featured in this group

Change the World - articles featured in this group

Solar-Hydrogen Demo Project in Sacramento - by Steve B.

Tax the sale of meat! - by Sam Carana

Agrichar - by Sam Carana

Communities without roads - by Sam Carana


Nov 17, 2007, 6:44:22 PM11/17/07
to Humanities
Hello Sam Carana...
I haven't been here for a while. Hope I can still get access. I seem
to be having trouble at the Epistemology Group, here on Google... I
may have been banned. That's alright, though.... there were only
really one or perhaps two people worth speaking with there, in any
event. Anyway, given your interests in matters "Green" you must be
thrilled that the U.N Scientists and Al Gore won the Nobel Prize. I
don't mind too much, myself....
I am considering taking up my Nominal9's Method needs Home... series
again.... I could and should add more. Well, let's see if I register
on the boards, here, first....
All the Best, in any event...

On Nov 3, 5:29 am, "Sam Carana" <> wrote:
> *Wild Green Yonder*<>
> Yonder<>-
> Boeing's super-clean fuel-cell aircraft will create history this year
> with
> aviation's first zero-emissions flight
> Boeing's fuel cell-powered electric demonstrator
> airplane<>-
> August 2003
> Boeing Announces Partners for Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane
> Project<>-
> July 11, 2003
> The Hydrogen Economy<>-
> articles featured in this group
> Change the World<>-
> articles featured in this group
> Solar-Hydrogen Demo Project in
> Sacramento<>-
> by Steve B.
> Tax the sale of
> meat!<>-
> by Sam Carana
> Agrichar <>-
> by Sam Carana
> Communities without
> roads<>-
> by Sam Carana

Sam Carana

Nov 17, 2007, 9:36:48 PM11/17/07
Hello Nominal,

Yes, I've been busy with environmental issues. Quite fascinating and satisfying if you can make a difference. By comparison, it seems much harder to make a difference in the epistemological world.

Regarding the Epistemology group, if there are complaints, then moderators will have to to look into it, otherwise Google will stop the entire group. Moderators at the Epistemology group take their time reading things and will simply delete old messages and new posts that are deemed offensive, so it's better to avoid that. It's much better to remain unmoderated, also because your messages will go through much faster will facilitates better flow of conversation.

There's no place on the Internet where you can say anything you want. Even if you would set up your own website on your own computer, you're still dependent on someone for Internet access. Some people search the entire Internet for specific words, with the sole intention of making complaints. That's how the Internet works and, in some cases it's quite unfair, but the inevitable result is that some people will get cut off. I have been mystified myself when finding out that I was moderated by a robot that disallowed me from doing something that I was convinced was totally harmless - as it turned out, I had naively used the term an?lysis (replace the ? by the letter a), which is often used in common language, but the Google robots had determined that I had written a four-letter word that needed censoring.

I'm not sure what has landed you into troubles, but if you really want to address certain issues, why not used more acceptable wording? As you see, I even here avoid using the above word, just to avoid that robots will classify me as using offensive language.

Sam Carana


Nov 19, 2007, 9:38:45 PM11/19/07
to Humanities
Hello Sam Carana,
Thank you for your explanation. I am not sure what happened, but my
messages on the E. board have appeared two days after I wrote them.
One of them has not shown at all... and that one was not vulgar in any
way.... just critical of one ideology or author'f followers.... Ayn
Anyway, my guess is that, as you suggest, my messages are now being
reviewed by some moderator before they are shown, that would seem to
explain the delay. i really do not want to affect your own board,
here, with any such pains in the neck. I may take up my sid "Nominal9
Method" postings again.... in their literary analysis mode... treating
such methodological and thematic consideratons in the relative same
setting of literature and not political differences or clashes of
social ideology.... but I already know that "stuff" myself. It is a
pity that there do not appear to be all that many p[eople intersted in
discussing the Humanities, on this Humanities site.....
Talk to you later.... I will try to read up on your own "Green" Issues
here and maybe ask some questions on things that catch my own....
rather uninformed.... curiosity.
> > Carana Hide quoted text -
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Nov 24, 2007, 7:05:13 PM11/24/07
to Humanities
Thanks for inviting me here Nom, looks good. Growing up we read the
Torygraph at our house. Dad was a socialist, but mad enough not to
realise the political tide of the Telegraph and it was a kind of
protest vote because the Grauniad stopped production in Manchester.
Life was so dull we walked on the M6 to appreciate it before they let
cars on. Years later, as a cop at the scene of a mad fog crash, I was
not the one who fell off Thelwall Viaduct - maybe the earlier trip had
familiarised me? Anyway, in Way of the World, the Torygraph's idea of
wit, which I read avidly in order to convince Dad I was literate and
because it was funny, the construction industry was portrayed as not
being happy until it had tarmacadamed the whole of Britain. Accidents
were to be major tourist attractions and all drivers wore peaked hats,
gossipped inanely and drove Bloggsmobiles made by workers asleep on
the night shift. As you point out this has all come true (except for
the arrival of superior Japomobiles)

Years ago, whilst I worked on management development at British Rail
(ho ho ho - what a non-job, complete with free travel and food on BR),
a guy called Serpell - working for British Bus plc - suggested
objectively that all rail lines be concreted over for buses, no doubt
so six of seven elongated versions could be joined together to save
fuel in getting from place to place. BR at the time was ticking over
on the profits from saver tickets - not the tickets themselves but on
the use of buffet cars by the peasants attracted to travel by them.
Now, of course, it costs twice a week's family benefits to travel from
Manchester to London.

Speaking as a radical conservative, honed on Way of the World
absurdity, I think we should leave things as they are as we normally
only dig up concrete to plant vegetables when we are at war with
Germany. I would ban personal ownership of cars however. With modern
IT we could easily be getting kids to school, people to work and so on
without personal ownership and the hassles of driving. This would
give us an over capacity of roads and other benefits in carbon
footprints, cutting down imports, deaths, use of the NHS and even in
quality of travel. It would even stop me killing people using mobile
phones and earphone hissing musak on trains as I would only travel on This new business would also
be highly resistant to foreign competition and give us chance to
design and produce the new hydrogen powered vehicles, mend the roads
and girdlock tempers.

In addition I would not ban retailing (as in how much bigger does this
car make my penis or machowomanhood appear) but use the Internet for
genuine direct ordering delivered to corner shops for collection.
Even those nerks (a term first seen in Way of the World) who live to
go shopping might well catch on. I would return to the business world
solely for the satisfaction of delivering redundancy to marketing
types and organising retail slaves into a useful post-capitalist
function and emancipation. This simple life would swoon us all.

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