Tuesday, July 12, 2005

World Culture versus Car Culture

"As people in this richest of Chinese cities have
grown more and more affluent, they have displayed
an American-style passion for the automobile.
But for Shanghai, as for much of China, getting
rich and growing attached to cars have increasingly
gone hand in hand, and have produced side effects
familiar in cities that have long been addicted
to automobiles - from filthy air and stressful,
marathon commutes to sharply rising oil consumption.

China accounts for about 12 percent of the world's
energy demand, but its consumption is growing at
more than four times the global rate, sending
Chinese oil company executives on an increasingly
frantic search for overseas supplies. The country's
top environmental officials have warned of ecological
and economic doom if China continues to follow this
pattern. But in cities like Shanghai, where
automobiles account for 70 percent to 80 percent
of air pollution, nothing seems capable of stopping,
or even slowing, the rapid rise of a car culture."

Howard W. French "Shanghai Journal: A City's
Traffic Plans Are Snarled by China's Car Culture"
New York Times, July 12, 2005

Photo credit: Michel Heurteaux


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