Asphalt Nation - Jane Holtz Kay - Feb 1st

Asphalt Nation ranks up there with the Geography of
Nowhere as a missive against suburbanization.  This is a great chance to meet one of our nation's great modern thinkers.

ASPHALT NATION:  How the Automobile Took Over America

Speaker:   Jane Holtz Kay

Jane Holtz Kay, an author, journalist and architecture critic for The Nation, has written widely on the built and natural environment. Her books include Asphalt Nation: How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take it Back; Preserving New England; and Lost Boston.

She is currently working on a book on global warming for U-Cal. pressunder the title "Last Chance Landscape."  For more information, see:

Date:   Wednesday, February 1, 2006
Time:   7:30 - 9:00 pm
Place:  Buell Hall, East Gallery, First Floor, Columbia University

Extra Credit if you pick out Mr. Starts and Fits and myself from the audience.

From the author's website:

Asphalt Nation is a major work of urban studies that examines how the automobile has ravaged America's cities and landscape, and how we can fight back.

The automobile was once seen as a boon to American life, eradicating the pollution caused by horses and granting citizens new levels of freedom and mobility. But it was not long before the servant became the master - public spaces were designed to accomodate the automobile at the expense of the pedestrian, mass transportation was neglected, and the poor, unable to afford cars, saw their access to jobs and amenities worsen. Now even drivers themselves suffer, as cars choke the highways and pollution and congestion have replaced the fresh air of the open road.

Today our world revolves around the car - as a nation, we spend eight billion hours a year stuck in traffic. In Asphalt Nation, Jane Holtz Kay effectively calls for a revolution to reverse our automobile-dependency. Citing successful efforts in places from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon, Kay shows us that radical change is not impossible by any means. She demonstrates that there are economic, political, architectural, and personal solutions that can steer us out of the mess. Asphalt Nation is essential reading for everyone interested in the history of our relationship with the car, and in the prospect of returning to a world of human mobility.