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SAT - Critical Reading - Vocabulary

Life in a pedestrian-friendly city cushions the slights of the auto age. (more)

Passage 1

Life in a pedestrian-friendly city cushions the slights of the auto age. Slowly, though, and over time, the lesions to my hometown of Boston penetrated my consciousness. As the landscape of the 1970s and the 1980s occupied my 5 writing as an architecture critic. I came to realize that the designs I saw often literally housed more cars than human occupants: that building to building, place to place, office complex to complex, dwelling to dwelling, every institution, and every structure did obeisance to the automobile. 10 To be sure. Boston's pedestrians are notable—or notorious—for their assertive stance against the automobile. Indeed, the word "jaywalking" was invented here. On foot, Bostonians bully the car. Even in this walking hub. however, the 1980s saw the motor vehicle 15 create a sub-city of garages and parking lots, gnaw the sidewalk, and slick the city's surfaces with oil. Garage doors and black hole entrances lacerated the street. Walking by the city's newer buildings, the pedestrian is now as likely to be ambushed by a car sliding from some 20 underground garage as to be visually assaulted by gap-toothed parking lots and eerie garage facades. "Plan for People, Not Just Autos" was the title of an article I wrote about this new architecture that genuflects to the highway. I have watched this deference to the 25 automobile manifest itself in worse ways across the continent. Time after time, I have witnessed cities and other environments become asphalt encrusted as the urge to hold the cars of shoppers or home owners has taken primacy. As economist Donald Shoup summed it up, "Form no longer 30 follows function, fashion, or even finance. Instead, form follows parking requirements." In the end. the car's horizontal needs at rest and in motion mean that architecture is car bound. For us these needs encompass some 200 million moving 35 vehicles traveling 2 trillion-plus miles a year on roads and ramps, along with parking lots for resting. As speed and the search for parking have become the ultimate quests, a new urban axiom has evolved: if a city is easy to park in, it's hard to live in; if it's easy to live in, it's hard to park in. 40 Architecture critic Lewis Mumford predicted no less more than 40 years ago: "The right to have access to every building in the city by private motorcar in an age when everyone possesses such a vehicle is actually the right to destroy the city."

Passage 2

45 Today everyone who values cities is disturbed by automobiles. Traffic arteries, along with parking lots, gas stations, and driveways, are powerful and insistent instruments of city destruction. To accommodate them, city streets are 50 broken down into loose sprawls, incoherent and vacuous for anyone afoot. City character is blurred until every place becomes more like every other place, all adding up to no place. And in the areas most defeated, uses that cannot stand functionally alone—shopping malls, or residences, or 55 places of public assembly, or centers of work — are severed from one another. But we blame automobiles for too much. Suppose automobiles had never been invented, or that they had been neglected and we traveled instead in 60 efficient, convenient, speedy, comfortable, mechanized mass transit. Undoubtedly, we would save immense sums that might be put to better use. But they might not. Indeed, we would have had essentially the same results I just blamed on cars due to the sorry state of conventional urban 65 planning. And then automobiles would have to be invented or would have to be rescued from neglect, for they would be necessary to spare people from vacuity, danger, and utter institutionalization. The reason for this is that it is questionable how much of 70 the destruction wrought by automobiles on cities is really a response to transportation and traffic needs, and how much of it is owing to sheer disrespect for other city needs, uses, and functions. Like city builders who face a blank when they try to think of what to do instead of massive building 75 projects, highway builders and traffic engineers face a blank when they try to think what they can realistically do, day by day. except try to overcome traffic kinks as they occur and apply what foresight they can toward moving and storing more cars in the future. 80 Good transportation and communication are not only among the most difficult things to achieve; they are also basic necessities. The point of cities is multiplicity of choice. It is impossible to take advantage of multiplicity of choice without being able to get around easily. 85 Furthermore, the economic foundation of cities is trade. Trade in ideas, services, skills, and personnel—and certainly in goods—demands efficient, fluid transportation and communication. The power of mechanized vehicles can make it easier to reconcile great concentrations of people 90 with efficient movement of people and goods. Thus automobiles can hardly be inherent destroyers of cities. In fact, we should sec that the car is a potentially exciting and liberating instrument for city life

1. The attitude of the author of Passage 1 toward "this deference" (line 24) is primarily one of

(A) shame

(B) disdain

(C) bemusement

(D) defensiveness

(E) unconcern

2. Which best characterizes the tone of Donald Shoup's comment in lines 29-31. Passage 1 ("Form no ... requirements") ?

(A) Laudatory

(B) Despondent

(C) Repentant

(D) Wry

(E) Earnest

3. In line 45, "disturbed" most nearly means
(A) displaced
(B) baffled
(C) destabilized
(D) troubled
(E) disrupted

1. The meaning of the word deference is polite submission and respect. The author uses this word to express how parking spaces are given primacy over spaces for people. Since the author is an architecture critic, the attitude with which he uses the word deference is of disdain, which is answer choice B. The meaning of disdain is unworthy of one's consideration.