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Association for Carfree Living, North America & Carfree Magazine

A rough proposal for what might in the end work better as two organizations: Its main projects would be providing membership benefits and publishing a lifestyle periodical.

Added by colin #442 on 2004-10-16. Last modified 2008-03-05 07:06. Originally created 2004-10-16. F1 License: Attribution
Location: World
xregion: North America

Topics: community, media: periodical


Initial Rough Proposal (2004-10-17)

I'm looking into starting (or avoiding the need to start it by getting others to do so) an Association for Carfree Living in North America. Its main projects may be providing membership benefits (e.g., Amtrak discounts) and paying for writers and photographers to document carfree living in North America, and then publishing that work in some form.

I've been thinking that the publication could be subtitled “Technology and the good life,” and include two carfree columnists with differing views of how technology should be used:

  • “Luddite”: perhaps Amish-like, or like the Haul of Justice founder Ethan Hughes—never entering a car, plane, or using a computer.
  • and “Technophile”: perhaps someone like Ray Kurzweil —technovisionary.

This will give the journal a broader, deeper focus than simply the diversity of people and ways of living carfree.

I believe there is significant potential for advertiser support of a periodical whose market is people who wish or have to live carfree.

Hiring our own teachers & diversity

Another way to think of this periodical is as a bunch of carfree people getting together and paying for the kind of work they most want to see/learn from. I for one am particularly interested in a North American publication and hope to have partners in Canada, including French Canadians, and Mexico, and publishing in multiple languages, or having multiple editions. It would also be great to have partners in various subcultures where carfree living may be found (Chinatown, Ecovillages, Indian Reservations, The Extremely Wealthy).

A carfree focus

Another important aspect of it for me is that it not devote energy to being anti-car: the pro/anti car debate will not be included or followed, nor would “peak oil,” except as a result of reporting on carfree living; there won't be any pictures or articles focusing on cars or car-culture in the periodical—except perhaps a page advertising car-sharing in the back, and maybe a page advertising car-alternatives, tricycle EV’s and such. There will be a focus on the beauty of carfree living and carfree(person)-friendly areas.

A lifestyle mag.

It also will not emphasize activism, protests, political action, or fretting about the status quo—it will be more of a lifestyle magazine. Perhaps it could even be glossy and consumerist, filled with pictures of shiny new urbanist developments! But the focus on the relationship between our use of technology and the good life—however the authors might define these terms—should give it a deeper feel. (these are just suggestions!)

Quite possibly there are two periodicals there—but I hope it could work as one—as my primary interest is in funding quality writing and photography in this area.

I plan to publish a detailed proposal in the next few weeks, but if with even that little statement of purpose you think you might want to be a partner in it or you have some guidance, please contact me.

Some organizations with publications whose structure and practice a Carfree Living association could learn from:

Join the acl-na yahoo group to discuss this proposal, or simply comment on this document.

Colin Leath

Update (2004-11-18)

About that mag/ car-free living association idea I wrote about earlier:

I may be continuing with that idea and it will work in the following way:

  • Those with ideas for stories can work on stories and pictures and design pages in a standard format and submit them in pdf form. They can sell ads for their stories.
  • I'll compile all the pages into one file that will be the magazine. Anyone can print it out and sell it for whatever they can get for it.
  • People who are just interested in selling ads, taking pictures, writing, designing pages, or distributing selling the mags can work with others to share the work and any money made. [I think it worth mentioning the successful open-source marketing effort for the firefox web browser (read about the NYT ad campaign, for example).]

That's basically it—I'll collect the pages, make them available for download, specify some format guidelines (e.g., page, font, and margin sizes), give out page numbers, etc. We could call the mag "Carfree" and keep it at www.carfree.ws.

There won't be any deadline for issues—when enough pages trickle in to call it an issue, we'll move on to a new one, and the partial issues will also be freely downloadable.

The basic difference between the mag I was proposing and the autoholics-like ideas ({1}, {2}) is that the mag I want to see is for people who are already carfree—it is not about winning or training converts to our way of life.

The advantage of this approach is that it doesn't happen unless everyone involved is intrinsically motivated to do the work. It doesn't involve any formal organizing or bureaucratic paperwork. On the other hand... it might not happen.

Some other things related to the association for carfree living and the carfree mag:

There is already a magazine, New Urban Living focusing on the commercial/new urbanist/planned community end of things. Unfortunately it seems to be run by the Florida-style new urbanism as opposed to the West-coast, transit-oriented sort, and the magazine looks as plastic as the worst new urbanism. But it is new, and I'm not in any place to criticize a mag that actually exists :)

Second, there are already two associations (in the US, at least) that offer benefits I thought of offering through the carfree association:

The National Association of Railroad Passengers (note the 10% Amtrak Discount).

Auto Free Orange County has already implemented a AAA-like group of membership benefits.

Finally, if anyone on this list is in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, or Ventura Counties, Bob Banner is giving one page of his progressive magazine hopedance over to report on carfree issues and activism in those counties.

I will be in touch with the guy behind AutoFreeVentura.com and some others to see if we can come up with anything.

We're looking at having 700-900 words with 1 or 2 photos/images. The deadline for the Jan/Feb issue of Hopedance is December 10.

I don't have anything for it at the moment, nor am I in any of those counties, but I did get something published in hopedance back in the July/August 2004 issue and Bob offered to keep publishing more local carfree happenings.

That's all from me until the end of December perhaps!


Colin Leath <>    

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