(Man) Today we'll examine the role that private transportation ---namely, the automobile --- plays in city planning.
A number of sociologists blame the automobile for the decline of the downtown areas of major cities. In the 1950's and 1960's the automobile made it possible to work in the city and yet live in the suburbs many miles away. Shopping patterns changed: instead of patronizing downtown stores, people in the suburbs went to large shopping malls outside the city and closer to home. Merchants in the city failed; and their sores closed. Downtown shopping areas became deserted.
In recent years there's been a rebirth of the downtown areas, as many suburbanites have moved back to the city. They've done this, of course, to avoid highways clogged with commuters from the suburbs.
I've chosen this particular city planning problem --- our dependence on private transportation --- to discuss in groups. I'm hoping you all will come up with some innovative solutions. Oh, and don't approach the problem from a purely sociological perspective; try to take into account environmental and economic issues as well.内容来自 听力课堂网：http://www.tingclass.net/show-8562-245197-1.html