It seems to me that a self-driving car will no longer have to be designed as a car, with seats looking forward and a steering-wheel and etc. It could be a mobile office, nursery, playroom, or bedroom. Also, the integration of self-driving cars into public – mass – transport will be interesting and could potentially make the capillary outreach of public transport much more flexible and ramified. The car, of course, is. like the suburbs, a great social isolator, whereas public transport forces one to rub shoulders with all sorts of people. Baron Haussmann’s rebuilding of Paris in 1850-1870, which resulted in the replacement of mixed neighborhoods where social classes cohabited – often vertically in the same building – higgledy-piggledy – with more socially homogeneous – and thus segregated neighborhoods, with the workers all concentrated in certain arrondissements – was one factor enabling the Paris Commune revolt of 1871. When you live cheek-by-jowl with people it is harder to demonize them. One of the rich human and humane sides of historic centers in Italian cities is the fact that due to history, architecture, and rent controls, a whole spectrum of social classes and income levels will live in the same building even, and certainly on the same street, and meet at the corner cafe. This was certainly true of my street in Rome, via Panico. The phenomenon was noted by a French observer of the Italian scene in the 1970s. Didn’t prevent radicalization, though, but radicalization remained a minority – youth – phenomenon. Such social integration is declining.

Our Driverless Future

Author: gjreid

Writer of TV and Radio Documentaries and of fiction - both literary and nonliterary.

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