-by Silke Zimmer-Merkle, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT), Germany
“Every crisis is an opportunity”, says the heading entry to this blog. Well, at least crises seem to be a trigger for change: societal, technological and general. This crisis may particularly be cut out for reflecting our daily habits and routines as on the one hand side we have to rearrange them and on the other the lockdown gives us (beside home-office and home-schooling challenges, at least little) moments to pause and think. Some post in this blog have already done so and I can’t resist to reply to Gert Schmidt’s entry (https://cas.ihs.ac.at/a-return-of-the-car/).
Only a couple of days ago (currently events come thick and fast…) I had similar thoughts: although having car sharing available on my doorstep, I would – in this situation – have been glad to have a car for my own. Soon though I realized these to be quite short-lived thoughts. There are not many everyday things left to do. Or, as Johannes Starkbaum formulates it: “#staythefuckathome”. If my medical treatment is not urgent, I do best not to visit my dentist’s practice and keep distance to as many people as possible. The same holds for friends and family. Only work (if home-office is not possible) and grocery shopping have remained good reasons to leave the house. (At least if we look at the majority of people; the exception proves the rule.) And very often, these – particularly visiting the next supermarket – can be done by bicycle or on foot. As this mainly holds for cities, once again the problem is in the periphery – as ever. I would guess: corona will only lead to a return of the car, if we want it. It could – social media says first cities already planned emergency bike networks to promote social distancing in transportation – also lead to other ends. It’s all in our hands.