ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Alternatives to the Automobile in the Indian City

While automobiles contribute signifi cantly to pollution and environmental degradation, and affect human health, the authorities who are supposed to understand the gravity and the urgency of the problem pay no attention to the alternatives. Two cases presented in this article demonstrate that activists and experts, even high court judges, cannot change the situation, if the authorities do not want to play ball.

For the past century, the automobile has captured the imagination of people around the globe and for many it still constitutes the ultimate symbol of middle-class status. According to a rapidly-growing number of academic studies, however, the automobile may have detrimental effects on human health and life quality, not least in cities where the concentration of automobiles contribute significantly to pollution, environmental degradation, social isolation, stress and physical inactivity.1

The following two cases from Bangalore and Chandigarh may not only provide inspiration for the creation of car-free environments in cities, but also reveal some of the difficulties in creating those environments.

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