Prioritizing Human Transport, Outside Of The Box
A human is not a box. However, we still prefer to transport ourselves as such. Then again, we do live in a world, namely in the United States, where corporations are people and those “people” often make things that come in boxes.
Yet, we are failing ourselves by only making our transportation systems work as if everyone comes in a box. You know I’m anti-hierarchy, but this is one clear place where a hierarchy makes perfect sense. The hierarchy I’m talking about is one of transportation (or transit) oriented development.
Those of you fellow urban planning nerds have heard the words transit oriented development so much, it’s almost like a bad song stuck in your head. Especially those of you who are urban planners and you can’t get your community on your side to plan better. In their minds, if it’s not bringing people or “people” to commercial enterprises, then it’s not doing it’s job or worth the money. Don’t even get me started on the STROAD problem.
Sadly, not everything that people do is worth money. Sometimes it’s worth time or community or love. Therefore, we need to stop yielding to the “people”‘s transportation hierarchy and get back to the human transportation hierarchy.
So what does the “people’s” hierarchy look like?
7. Hands/Back of a person or animal.
As you can see, this list prioritizes space, speed and ability to bear weight. In some iterations, it doesn’t even include human beings. If this transport hierarchy can be worked through without humans, why do some think it’s appropriate for humans without cargo?
In my opinion, this is how a human-based transportation hierarchy would go:
I’ve left out animals on purpose. Unless you have no other choice, let’s let our horses, camels and other animals lay at rest. Machines were invented for a good reason here. I also went from the most to the least mechanical. We are organic beings after all. At least in the United States we really value our independence from things besides ourselves.
Bringing all these thoughts to a close, quite simply we need to bust out of the box. That box being the one that makes humans a commodity and not a community.
Image Credit: Flickr user Roland Tanglao under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) licence.
Kristen Jeffers is The Black Urbanist. She holds an MPA with a concentration in community and economic development from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She writes to bring together the community members with its designers, planners, policy-makers and visionaries. She's been obsessed with cities since her childhood, when she started taking trips on the floor with maps, toy ...
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