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City Beautiful


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YouTube Video

Can We Make Cities Car-Free?

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City Beautiful

  • This video highlights the benefits of reducing car traffic in cities, with examples from a number of cities in Europe. 
  • In addition to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, these cities also benefited from a reduction in air pollution and crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Teaching Tips


  • The video gives students real-world examples of a climate solution that also benefits the people living in those communities.
  • It also shows innovative ideas for transporting waste out of cities without the use of trucks.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The content ends at 6 minutes and 43 seconds, with an ad at the end.
  • The video mentions that it may be more difficult to convert cities in the United States to being car-free, but it may be beneficial to discuss the reasons why in more detail.


  • Economics and social studies classes could discuss equitable ways of making urban areas more accessible to pedestrians and bicycles.
  • Science and health classes could use this video to make the connection between greenhouse gas pollution from vehicles and the effects of air pollution and a lack of physical activity on human health.
  • This video could be tied into lessons about other climate-related topics, such as urban designs to prevent flooding, reducing the urban heat island effect, and increasing green spaces and trees in cities and nearby areas.
Scientist Notes

This video spotlights the possibility of transforming cities in Europe to car-free. For instance, the superblocks model was designed to decongest traffic in Barcelona. Other cities in Europe like Utrecht have also redesigned their transport model. The USA is currently lagging in terms of transforming to a car-free nation. Urban planners can borrow a leaf from what is obtainable in Europe. This resource is inspiring as it could be replicated for a car-free world. This resource is recommended for teaching.

  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.10.6-8 Explain the relevance of personal interests and perspectives, civic virtues, and democratic principles when people address issues and problems in government and civil society.
      • D2.Civ.12.6-8 Assess specific rules and laws (both actual and proposed) as means of addressing public problems.
      • D2.Civ.13.3-5 Explain how policies are developed to address public problems.
      • D2.Civ.12.9-12 Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • 3-5-ETS1-2 Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
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