How one city made its city center basically car-free--and it really works | FastCompany

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while business owners initially worried about the city creating a ghost town that no one would visit, the opposite seems to be true; as in other cities that have converted some streets to pedestrian-only areas, the areas in Oslo that have been pedestrianized are some of the most popular parts of the city, Marcussen says. Last fall, after hundreds of parking spots had been removed, the city found that it had 10% more pedestrians in the center than the year before. “So that is telling me that we are doing something right,” she says.

“Changing habits will always be challenging,” she says. “Cities have been built for cars for many decades, and the car has been seen as a status symbol, and I guess it still is for some people. We need to plan our cities better for the future so that the private car is not setting the premise for how we build our cities anymore. So in new developments, we are trying to make sure it’s easy for those who move into their new home to live without their own private car.”

Several other cities are also working to reduce car use, such as Madrid, which limits access to the city center for anyone other than the people who live there. Other cities will follow. “I am absolutely certain that in the future, the private car will take up much less space in the cities,” says Marcussen.