The Automobile’s Contribution to Identity in America: Nostalgia, Nationalism and Status
Over one billion cars have been manufactured world-wide in the past century, with nearly 700 million on the road today (Urry, 2006). As important as flight, computers, and mass communication, the automobile has been a key contributor to the growth and globalization of our world (Sheller, 2000). While the automobile is rarely the topic of sociological discussion and cultural study, this article will discuss the iconicism of the automobile and how it contributes to an individual’s identity.
For some this is the Volkswagen Beetle – a car that embodies nostalgia and the by-gone era of the 60’s (Wilson, 2005). For others, the identity is the nationalism and pride invoked by owning a car that typifies a true red-blooded American (Edensor, 2004).
Reshaping Metropolitan America provides an outlook of the next fifteen years for infrastructure development in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of the buildings that will be necessary to handle the projected half billion residents of the Untied States by 2030 are not built yet. We also need to reshape our cities to handle the inversion trend; families and the next generation want to move back and live near downtown. Richard C. Nelson, the author, supports this population shift but does not strongly support it. Instead of trying to create room and additional infrastructure in downtown areas, Nelson believes that metropolitan areas should start to urbanize its suburbs to accommodate desired urban living. The American population is also changing
Our cities are not what they used to be. Over the corse of fifty years the once proud, strong, and viable hubs of American economic prowess are but a shell of what they were built for. The problems that many cities have are no longer condensed to their city limits and the sprawl that was created over that fifty year period is now threatening to enter the suburban spaces that were created when the city’s citizens left. The metro sprawl is starting to loose it’s attractiveness and unless there is more acknowledgment of the problems creeping out of these cities, the same declining trends will create unoccupied commercial and residential districts not unlike the downtowns of many American cities. Without careful discussion about these trends and our communities embracement of a more regional approach, then there will be more problems in less dense suburban areas, making those problems hard to correct. In order to prevent the spread of this urban blight and avoid low occupancy rates, communities must implement regional tax policies, plan for more effective use of space, and encourage smart growth.
Towards the end of the 1980s and early 1990s, a new form of urban thinking and rationalization made its way into the world of urban planning. This way of reinterpreting urban planning was known as New Urbanism, and throughout the following years until present, New Urbanism became a new way of thinking about urban planning, revolving around ideals of pedestrian-oriented societies, as well as a need for diversity among its social and economic aspects. These ideas encompassed old urban concepts like the City Beautiful Movement and Garden City as well as incorporating more modern perceptions, such as a need for civic engagement and the need to incorporate the use of public transportation into plans.
Ever since the invention of the automobile, the car has been a large part of American life. Currently there are more than 16 million cars sold that are made in America (Magee, Ferrara, and LaMeau 149). It is something that is used every day in America by millions of people. The automobile opened the door for new opportunities and new experiences. It symbolizes the American ideal of freedom and independence. Americans have embraced the automobile and have implemented it into their lives. Automobiles fueled the American economy and helped establish a nationwide network of roads. Automobiles have had a great influence on American society through their history, the pioneers of the automotive industry, the companies involved in the automotive industry, and the highway system.
Since the beginning of the United States the American people have been on the move. Public transportation has played a major role in the development of this nation and in bringing its citizens together. In the book “Divided Highways”, author Tom Lewis takes the reader on a journey of the building of the Interstates and the consequences(good and bad) that came from them. Lewis believes that the Interstates are a physical characteristic of America and that it shows “all our glory and our meanness; all our vision and our shortsightedness”(xiv).
Social History Project: Impact of the Automobile on American Culture
The automobile greatly impacted American culture through changing the dynamics of the family, leisure, and communication
The automobile allowed quick and easy transportation that changed American culture as people became more connected and were allowed to go where they wanted when they wanted. The automobile helped to create leisure activities, especially in small rural communities, which lacked a variety of activities. People were no longer confined into doing the same thing because it was close and easy to get to, now people had access to new places like skating ranks, the movies and bowling alleys.
In the past seventy years the United States has evolved to become a nation of intricate roads and major superhighways. With 6,586,610 km of public roads the United States holds the leading position for the largest road network in the world. Creating such a monstrous change in a nation over a short period of time generated some disagreements between locals and politicians. In addition to disagreements, the undertaking of building an enormous network of highways held a vast number of unintended consequences. This essay demonstrates the effects and unintended consequences on locals when the government creates interstates, highways and other public roads in an area. In order to understand the background of locals revolts on various highways it is necessary to delve into the history of the highways and public road works of the United States. Additionally, it is necessary to investigate the manner in which these freeways were built, in doing so it will be more clear what caused various unintended consequences.
Suburbanization has been occurring for the last 150 years in this country and in Europe, although the Europeans haven=t had the change that the United States has witnessed. The causes of change on such a larger scale can be pointed at four aspects of metropolitan areas also pointed out in Jackson=s work on suburbanization. The first on is that Americans have such low density residential areas, and often their is not a distinction between urban and rural. Our cities were laid out over space, with even New York City and Philadelphia not as densely populated as some cities in Europe. The next distinguishing factor is a want to own a home. At least two-thirds of all Americans own their own home, with rates less than half of that present in cities in Europe. Next, is the average length that American travel to work, also being much higher than in other countries. Finally, the last distinguishing factor is that social status and income correlate with suburbs, the further away from the central business district...
Most Americans live in the 324 metropolitan areas of the United States. Even for the 50% of the population who live in the suburbs, problems of the central cities are increasingly common, and some pockets of urban decay have moved outward (Leviton, L. C., Snell, E., & McGinnis, M., 2000 p. 363).