Cars have historically been one of the major contributors to air pollution and the overheating of our planet. But the downsides of our car-centric society go even deeper than that. A recent thread posted on Reddit shows how accommodating for car traffic can destroy once-beautiful historical landmarks.
These before-and-after images, posted on the r/ArchitecturalRevival subreddit, show the now-demolished Arco da Conceição in Recife, Brazil, and what that same location looks like today, now that it has been altered to allow for cars to drive through it.
The Arco da Conceição was erected in 1643 and destroyed in 1913 to facilitate traffic in the neighborhood. These days, visitors and residents of the city can get a sense of what the historic structure looked like by visiting its location, scanning a QR code, and getting an “augmented reality” experience on their phones.
The tragedy of the Arco da Conceição’s destruction was not lost on architecture-loving Redditors, who had a lot to say about the wisdom of sacrificing such a monument in the name of traffic.
“Car-centric society ruined the world,” wrote one Redditor.
“It is better not to reveal its past glory as it is painful to look at,” wrote another.
“A crime is what it should be,” another chimed in.
Of course, historical monuments and buildings being replaced by roadways and parking garages is not a phenomenon relegated to just Brazil — it has happened all over the world, including in the United States.
Notably, the Garrick Theater in Chicago was razed in 1961 and replaced by a parking garage; the Old Cincinnati Library was demolished in the 1950s and replaced by a parking garage; and the Imperial Hotel in Indianapolis was demolished in the 1940s and replaced by an expansive parking lot.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. planet-warming pollution.
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