An Absence Also Becomes Visible
As I’m going to the U.K. next week, I was particularly interested to come across these lines from Robert Macfarlanes’s scintillating book The Wild Places.
Macfarlane writes: “In Britain, over sixty-one million people now live in 93,000 square miles of land. Remoteness has been almost abolished, and the main agents of that abolition have been the car and the road. Only a small and diminishing proportion of terrain is now more than five miles from a motorable surface. There are nearly thirty million cars in use in Britain, and 210,000 miles of road on the mainland alone. If those roads were to be stretched out and joined into a single continuous carriageway, you drive on it almost to the moon. The roads have become new mobile civilisations in themselves: during rush-hours, the car-borne population across Britain and Ireland is estimated to exceed the resident population of central London…”
“…The commonest map of Britain is the road atlas. Pick one up, and you see the meshwork of motorways and roads which covers the surface of the country. From such a map, it can appear that the landscape has become so thickly webbed by roads that asphalt and petrol are its new primary elements…. [C]onsidering the road atlas, an absence also becomes visible. The wild places are no longer marked.”
This entry was posted on Monday, August 18th, 2008 at 2:04 pm and is filed under Cars, Traffic Culture, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.