America's Addiction to Automobiles: Why Cities Need to Kick the Habit and How

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A provocative look at our nation's dependency on the automobile and how its potential impact on urban design will either make or break our health, economy, and quality of life.

In this thought-provoking work, author and urban planning expert Chad Frederick scrutinizes the use of automobiles in cities, investigating its role in exacerbating urban inequalities and thwarting sustainability of modern society. Through a comprehensive, thoughtful discussion, Frederick illustrates how the automobile is fundamentally at odds with the very nature of cities. He shows how cars impose huge burdens on our health, equity, environment, local and national economy, and quality of life. Most of all, he shows how automobile dependency has put our entire society at risk.

The book delves into the monumental role of automobiles in the development of cities after the Great Depression, impacting the American identity and affecting the way we produce and manage urban spaces. Frederick provides compelling evidence that cities with more diverse modes of transportation are greener, healthier, more prosperous, and even more enjoyable places to live than automobile-dependent cities. He identifies one institution responsible for our inability to improve our cities: the social sciences, and examines the root cause of our inability to make progress toward more multi-modal cities. In conclusion, the author offers a radical solution for moving beyond the underlying logic that forces us to create automobile-dependent cities.

  • Shows how automobiles in urban areas harm health, economy, and society overall
  • Explains why some are opposing the movement toward more multi-modal cities and why 40 years of research in this area has not resulted in better cities
  • Explores how automobile dependency exerts enormous power over our daily lives by shaping the kind and quality of our social interactions, and by influencing our civic attitudes and worldviews
  • Illustrates the broad impacts of automobile use that reach into every aspect of modern life: from public health and income inequality, to environmental quality and quality of life

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