The next time you’re standing at the side of a street waiting for a light to indicate when you can cross or the next time you call someone a “jaywalker”, remember the history of the modern Moloch. The radio blog 99% Invisible examines the emergence of automobiles in cities and the necessity to reframe the street as a natural place for cars, not pedestrians.
Automotive interests banded together under the name Motordom. One of Motordom’s public relations gurus was a man named E. B. Lefferts, who put forth a radical idea: don’t blame cars, blame human recklessness. Lefferts and Motordom sought to exonerate the machine by placing the blame with individuals.
And it wasn’t just drivers who could be reckless—pedestrians could be reckless, too. Children could be reckless.
This subtle shift allowed for streets to be re-imagined as a place where cars belonged, and where people didn’t. Part of…
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