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After the Car

ISBN: 978-0-7456-4422-6
180 pages
June 2009, Polity
After the Car (0745644228) cover image
It is difficult to imagine a world without the car, and yet that is exactly what Dennis and Urry set out to do in this provocative new book. They argue that the days of the car are numbered: powerful forces around the world are undermining the car system and will usher in a new transport system sometime in the next few decades. Specifically, the book examines how several major processes are shaping the future of how we travel, including:
  • Global warming and its many global consequences
  • Peaking of oil supplies
  • Increased digitisation of many aspects of economic and social life
  • Massive global population increases

The authors look at changes in technology, policy, economy and society, and make a convincing argument for a future where, by necessity, the present car system will be re-designed and re-engineered.

Yet the book also suggests that there are some hugely bleak dilemmas facing the twenty first century. The authors lay out what they consider to be possible 'post-car' future scenarios. These they describe as 'local sustainability', 'regional warlordism' and 'digital networks of control'.

After The Car will be of great interest to planners, policy makers, social scientists, futurologists, those working in industry, as well as general readers.

Some have described the 20th Century as the century of the car. Now that century has come to a close – and things are about to change.

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Preface vi

1 Changing Climates 1

2 The Century of the Car 27

3 Systems 47

4 Technologies 62

5 Organizations 93

6 Models 109

7 Scenarios 131

Notes 165

Index 203

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Kingsley Dennis, Research Associate, Lancaster University

John Urry, Professor of Sociology, Lancaster University

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  • A provocative exploration of a possible future without the car, from two leading sociologists.
  • Examines the impact of global warming, global population increases and the peaking of oil supplies, among other things, on the future of how we travel.
  • Argues that there will come a time in the future where, by necessity, the present car system will be ‘re-designed’ and ‘re-engineered’.
  • After The Car will interest sociologists, policy makers, industry, as well as the general reader. It will be of interest to every ‘car user’.
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    "Dennis and Urry show us how to do social science: how to move effortlessly between the macro and the micro,how to integrate problem spaces we once thought incommensurate, how to understand how we got to where we are and where we might be going."
    Journal of Sociology

    "Dennis and Urry exhibit a refreshing understanding of the sheer inefficiency and inconvenience of cars."
    Lynsey Hanley, The Guardian

    "One great aspect of this book is that it manages to build some possible and realistic view of the future without neglecting its unpredictability. After the Car is a very inspiring book that we would recommend to all people interested in the future of transportation systems – especially those convinced by the importance of carfree perspectives in building it."
    Carbusters

    "One of the toughest things to do is to anticipate discontinuity, to envisage a world - a life - beyond the car. The authors practice this art of the impossible in a fascinating way, opening up the social and sociological imagination for alternative paths of modernization."
    Ulrich Beck, University of Munich

    "A persuasive and readable summary of why motoring as we know it is doomed. The authors systematically chart the new technologies, oil shortages, environmental and other pressures changing the way we travel and the world we live in. If you want to know what the future might look like, this book is for you. Jeremy Clarkson is an endangered species!"
    Steven Joseph, Executive Director, Campaign for Better Transport

    "After the Car is a useful contribution to the debate about the role of the car which poses some interesting questions about its future."
    Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth

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