I first saw the documentary Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media¬†in high school, when I was an avid athlete. The film is a sprawling overview of Chomsky’s life, linguistics, activism, and, as the title suggests, his critical analyses of the mass media. Amongst this broad subject matter, covered through an enormous amount archival footage […]

Like most issues, people engage with transportation mainly in an individualistic way. Hence most “debate” about transportation infrastructure, as in this¬†predictable piece, merely amounts to recounting a set of personal anecdotes such as seeing cyclists riding on sidewalks, without extrapolating any broader insights beyond expressing one’s peevishness. Maybe this is just systemic – people are “inherently” selfish (or encouraged to be so), and have great difficulty considering some issue beyond their immediately personal wants and experiences – say on a societal or structural level. Whatever the case may be, what’s frequently missing from the constant stream of indignant rants about transportation (and even transportation debates by our finest politicians) is a discussion about what the relative societal benefits (and costs) are of differing transportation schemes. What kinds of transportation systems and urban planning are most efficient, affordable, safe, and least damaging to human and environmental health? Continue reading