ENGR 101/HUM 200: Technology and Society October 20, 2005
Agenda • Exam review session reminder: 6-7:30 pm today • More on cars! • Traffic as an international problem
America and Car Culture • Automotive industry as culture industry (Volti) • Automotive developments as cultural developments (Roth)
A Century of Automobility • Growth of industry required enthusiasm and financial capital (cf. “alternative” energy research) • Stanley Steamer (too many guages, too dangerous), Electric cars (“women’s cars”), internal combustion
Automobiles and… • Mobility • Privacy • Power • Mechanisms that insulated people from the outside world.
Automobiles and Style • “More than any other industrially produced item, the automobile has succeeded in capturing the fancy of potential customers through appeals that go well beyond the utilitarian. Since technological novelty or even technological sophistication has seldom been of much interest to American drivers, the commercial success of the American automobile has been driven by styling.” Volti, page 673
The American Car Market • Early 20th C, 45% tariff on foreign cars • Domestic petroleum • Oil companies, automobile manufacturers ensured gas taxes in US would be kept low compared to other countries • “vast, open country” • Linked with suburbanization
Whittier Boulevard • Is geography destiny? • Transportation planning is technical engineering as well as social engineering • Robert Moses and the overpasses • Whittier Boulevard and “path dependencies” (page 732) [remember the qwerty keyboard?]
City of LA council Ceded land without reserving easements Union Pacific RR Contributed $7 million of $9 million needed LA City Engineers Suggested bond issue State of CA Initiated a gas tax W.F. Ault, Chamber of Commerce Wanted Whittier for small businesses John Prince, city engineer State Division of Highways City of LA Streets Division Edward Roybal, City Council Who Played a Role in the 6th St Bridge-Building?
Automobiles and Urban Geography • “Wrong side of the tracks” • Where do the sidewalks end? • Uneven, cracked pavement • Streetlights • Crosswalks
Building Infrastructure • If you’re an engineer, it’s sure easier if you can have a conversation with the other stakeholders • If you’re a city planner, it’s sure easier if you can have a conversation with the other stakeholders • If you’re a city resident, it’s sure easier if you can have a conversation with the other stakeholders
Vocabulary • Take-away from this course: be able to have a conversation with people in other fields • Values, assumptions, priorities Creosote-soaked wood. Cheaper? More attractive? Recycled? Who would say yes to this proposal and why?
If Congestion isn’t going to go away… • How have cities with the worst problems dealt with them? • Mexico City, London, Manila
Mayor’s Proposal • Pay to drive into the city
Mexico City • Serious pollution problem
Next class • Exam #1. Bring scantron sheet! • Extra credit paper due before end of exam • Next unit schedule will be handed out