André Guillerme: Autophiles and Autophobes

Urban Congestion in Large Cities at the Beginning of the 20th Century
Talk, in French, Paul Desmarais Theatre, 6 April 2006
. . .
André Guillerme: Autophiles and Autophobes

André Guillerme examines the phenomenon of traffic at the beginning of the twentieth century. From its inception, the automobile threw urban traffic into confusion. In order to go faster, it demanded a route free of obstacles, pedestrians, horses, bicycles, dust, giving rise to the highway which was first realized in 1904. Noisy, smoky, and fast, the car terrifies the citizen and the villager alike; it is dangerous and frequently kills. Since the 1910s, municipal authorities have sought to avoid congestion of the commercial downtown, and control traffic through rules and regulations or by separating modes of transportation. Towards 1930, it became necessary to seek permission to drive fast, and also to teach children to be wary of the car.

André Guillerme is Professor of the History of Technology at the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM) in Paris. Engineer and historian, he has written extensively on the history of the urban environment, including such volumes as Les temps de l’eau : la cité, l’eau et les techniques (1983), encompassing the 3rd to the 19th century, Bâtir la ville : révolutions industrielles dans les matériaux de construction, France-Grande-Bretagne, 1760-1840 (1995), and the collaboratively-authored Dangereux, insalubres et incommodes : paysages industriels en banlieue parisienne, 19e-20e siècles (2005), all published in Paris by Champ Vallon.

André Guillerme was a CCA Mellon Senior Fellow in 2006.


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