After the Car

Published by Polity Press (2009)

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It is difficult to imagine a world without the car, and yet that is exactly what Dennis and Urry set out to do in this provocative new book. They argue that the days of the current car system are numbered. Powerful forces around the world are undermining it and will usher in a new system sometime in the next few decades. Specifically, the book examines how several major processes are reshaping travel, including:

• Global warming and its many global consequences

• Peaking of oil supply

• Increased digitization of most aspects of economic and social life

• Massive global population increases

The authors examine changes in technology, policy, economy and society, and make a convincing argument for a future where, by necessity, the present car system will have been replaced.

The book also suggests that there are some bleak dilemmas facing the twenty-first century. The authors lay out what they consider to be possible ‘post-car’ future scenarios. These they describe as ‘local sustainability’, ‘regional warlordism’ and ‘digital networks of control’.

Some describe the twentieth-century as the century of the car. Now that century has come to a close – and things are dramatically about to change.

‘One of the toughest things to do is to anticipate discontinuity, to envisage a world – a life – beyond the car. The authors practice this art of the impossible in a fascinating way, opening up the social and sociological imagination for alternative paths of modernization.’

Ulrich Beck, University of Munich

‘A persuasive and readable summary of why motoring as we know it is doomed. The authors systematically chart the new technologies, oil shortages, environmental and other pressures changing the way we travel and the world we live in. If you want to know what the future might look like, this book is for you. Jeremy Clarkson is an endangered species!’

Steven Joseph, Executive Director, Campaign for Better Transport

‘After the Car is a useful contribution to the debate about the role of the car which poses some interesting questions about its future.’

Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth