The city in which I have described is ideal, yet it is merely a conception, not a reality. Designing all cities must be viewed from a human perspective. This seems so trivial and obvious—we are all humans, so why would a city not be designed for us? These past few weeks of living in Detroit has shown me a narrative of a city that wasn’t designed for human scale. The vast highway infrastructure has divided communities. Enormous boulevards, like Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, are so wide that I barely have time to walk across them in the time allotted (perhaps this is because of flawed traffic light timing, but the boulevard still reinforces my claim that Detroit lacks human-sized infrastructure). While riding a bike downtown, there was no room for me on the congested road because of the number of cars rushing to get to parking garages.
This summer, I am challenging the ethos of a city that is dependent on cars. I am shifting the city from a car culture to one that supports sustainable modes of transportation designed on the human scale. Just like my ideal city, however, these plans for my summer are unattainable. I’m confronting an issue in a city that wasn’t made for a human, so it’s going to take more than just one of us to truly make an impact. For now, I’m assisting a mobility effort to increase accessibility of bikes for disabled humans. The human scale includes all humans, not just able-bodied ones, so it’s important to consider all abilities when planning a city. Sometimes I feel like my impact is minimal, but each time I answer someone’s question about how those red bikes work, I am increasing knowledge of human scaled transit, one human at a time, which could also be considered human scale.