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Wednesday, January 11, 2023 

A comic about transportation

Bike Portland talks about a comic published by the city university focused on American automobile dependence:
Though fascinating to the policy wonks among us, transportation planning can seem impenetrable to people who are unfamiliar with the nitty-gritty specifics of the industry. Here at BikePortland, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to convey this complex information in an interesting and digestible way because you shouldn’t need to be an infrastructure expert to know why planning decisions are so important.

This is something researchers at Portland State University’s National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) have been thinking about too. In the end, they put their heads together with members of PSU’s Comic Studies department (yes they really do have one) and came up with the novel idea to convey planning policies in comic book form.

You can now check out the finished product: a 20-page comic called “Moving From Cars to People” written by Kelly Clifton of the University of British Columbia (and formerly PSU), Kristina Currans of the University of Arizona, and illustrated by PSU Master of Fine Arts student Joaquin Golez. The book was edited by PSU Comic Studies Program Director Susan Kirtley and Portland illustrator Ryan Alexander-Tanner.

The comic provides an eye-catching and informative overview of how and why communities in the United States became so car-dependent, the impacts of such auto-centric design and what sustainable transportation planners and advocates are doing about it. It’s more detailed than you might think (just because it’s a comic doesn’t mean it’s for kids) and touches on things like: how federal manuals dictate built planning choices, the problem with one-size-fits-all land use regulations, the connection between street design and housing, parking mandates, and more.
Well it does have an interesting premise, but a shame if this comic was published by Portland State, which is a far-left bastion. What if their politics influenced the writing of the comic? And if so, who knows if it's the best comic to discuss the issue of automobiles?

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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