Depaving

I’ve commented before on how roads are heat sinks, and, especially in a climate like Singapore’s, are not to be encouraged, so-called travelling efficiency be damned. Alex Au has accounts of two places that used to be pleasant neighbourhood fields but were paved over and turned into useless heat sinks. Of course our city planners don’t care about heat sinks — they don’t have to deal with the consequences! They drive around in their air-conditioned metal boxes, live in greenery-filled private estates, don’t have to wait at bus stops near heat sinks, etc.

Today a family member was drooling over how speedy the new expressway was. But all I could think of, seeing the black strip of tar cutting through the surrounding greenery, was how we’d just made it more difficult for any form of non-motorised transport; how we’d legitimised motorised transport as the only form anyone should take. We like to channel people’s movements into predetermined, organised routes. Clearly marked covered walkways. No weaving freely and delightfully across an unmarked field. Everything must be boxed up; designated for some purpose or other. So we live in an island divided by expressways. Nicely planned and distributed expressways. Every day you have to go to work by this route. You have to sit in this traffic jam. Either that or sit in thathuman jam on that train line. So it goes.

Methinks Singapore needs a depaving movement. Amongst many others. But who would want to support a movement for inefficiency?

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