Weekend Musing: One more reason why Africa does not matter

africa map“In a fair world it should be unthinkable to ignore the needs of close to one billion of the poorest people on the earth living in its second-largest and second most-populous continent. A part of the world with already one-third of the population living in cities, most of whom in slums, and with a flow of people from the country side continuing at record rates.”

- From Cities, Transport and Equity in Africa: Unasked Questions

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Op-Ed. The horrendous costs of motorized transportation in (Indian) cities

Henrik ValeurEvery once in a while an article pops in over the transom, as happened this morning,  that provides us with a good, independent  checklist of the woes and, if not the solutions, at least the directions in which solutions might usefully be sought to our transportation related tribulations.  And this carefully crafted piece by Danish architect Henrik Valeur is a good case in point. His independent out of the box perspective leads him to making comments links and pointing out relationships which take him well beyond the usual transportation purview.  And if his immediate source of comment in this article is the awful, the quite unnecesssary situation on the streets of India, the points he makes have universal application. Healthy stuff for planners and policy makers. Let’s have a look..

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China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society

WORLD BANK BEIJING February 27, 2012 – China should complete its transition to a market economy — through enterprise, land, labor, and financial sector reforms — strengthen its private sector, open its markets to greater competition and innovation, and ensure equality of opportunity to help achieve its goal of a new structure for economic growth.

These are some of the key findings of a joint research report by a team from the World Bank and the Development Research Center of China’s State Council, which lays out the case for a new development strategy for China to rebalance the role of government and market, private sector and society, to reach the goal of a high income country by 2030.

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Eric Britton: rodar sin auto

eb-cartoonThis charming piece appeared in a local newspaper in Guadalajara one year after my visit there in support of their World Car Free Day program in September 2011. The article is amusingly written and the cartoon is apparently what I looked like after a full day of biking without sunscreen protection in the tropical sun for their wonderful Cyclovia, the second oldest and second largest in the world.  While the original source can be seen here, the text is reasonably amenible to Googe Translate. I thought that some of my friends might enjoy it, so here it is. Continue reading

Originally posted on World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities:

We have no money gentlemen, so we shall have to think.
– Ernest Rutherford, on taking over Cavendish Laboratory in 1919

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2013 World Streets Work Program Highlights

In the following you will find brief introductions to the twelve major policy areas around which we intend to focus and organize our work program over the year ahead. For more you are invited to click the title lines in each case, which will take you directly to the full set of materials and articles thus far developed on that broad topic area under our work program since the first issues of World Streets appeared in the opening days of 2009.

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Paris: Ambitious mobility plans for economy, efficiency and equity.
This ambitious effort on the part of Paris’s mayor and his team is well worth following, even if for some it is may be a bit inconvenient for those not able to easily read in French. The original article appears here. And here in the event is the Google translation. (You may note that this article appears in a journal loved and run by the French Right, the mayor’s fierce opponents, so caveat lector.)

Paris: Ambitious mobility plans for economy, efficiency and equity.

When it comes to choosing their means of transport, travellers in Germany and Europe reveal themselves surprisingly willing to switch modes. Almost 50 percent of those surveyed in six European countries say that they have changed their own mobility mix in the last few years.    * Click here for survey.

When it comes to choosing their means of transport . . .

xCar Thinking Exercise?

Just to be sure that we are all getting off on the same foot on this, let me excerpt a few lines from the WP entry on brainstorming. All this is well trod terrain, but just to be sure:
Brainstorming – what we are calling a thinking exercise here — is a group creativity technique by which efforts are made to find a conclusion for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. Continue reading

The xCar Landscape: New Ways of Owning and Using Cars in the 21st Century

This is a collaborative thinking exercise addressing essentially a single question. But one of many parts. What is the “modern motor car” going to look like in the decade immediately ahead?  Will it be  more of the same?  Or will it mutate into a very different form of mobility?  Who is going to own it?  And how is it going to be used? Where will it be driven (and eventually parked)?  Will it be piloted by a warm sapient human being, or will it be driverless? Will it still have wheels, doors and tires? What will be its impact on the environment?  And what will be the impact of the “environment” on it? On public safety? On quality of life for all.  Will it be efficient, economic and equitable? Who will make them and where?  Is it going to create or destroy jobs? And how fast is all of this going to occur?  . . . Continue reading

“CAR21″: A Thinking Exercise (or New Ways of Owning and Using Cars in the 21st Century)

From the World Carshare Consortium:  I would like to offer a “thought experiment” with anyone here who may wish to jump in with their ideas. criticism and/or proposals — or perhaps only to pull up a chair and see what happens in a case like this. The short story is that I would like to see what, if anything, happens with a simple change of title and focus for this group — the World Carshare consortium at http//worldcarshare.com + http://www.facebook.com/groups/worldcarshare/ + http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorldCarShare — which for almost 15 years now has been focusing its attention on the varieties of carsharing that are fast multiplying and taking an increasingly important role in the mobility options of people in cities around the world.  Carsharing has a brilliant, in many ways surprising and certainly very different future, which in fact is already well in process.  But there is more to our story than that. Continue reading

Eric Britton: USA/France

Trained as a development economist, Francis Eric Knight Britton is founding editor of World Streets and managing director of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government,  business and civil society on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development.   Continue reading

Importance of Gender Parity in Transport Planning and Policy


Achieving the goals of the EC White Paper on Transport: How civil society can help with delivery

The European Economic and Social Committee is organizing a conference on “Achieving the goals of the White Paper on Transport: how civil society can help with delivery”. This one day conference will take place at the Committee’s premises on 7 December. The principal document under discussion is entitled “Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource-efficient transport system”. It is available here . We are inviting comments on this document since it is at the core of the meeting. But first some background:

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Congestion as policy. (I have seen worse.)

Whether or not congestion is “good” is one thing.  But what is for sure is that one way or another congestion is policy, or at the very least a policy option. And quite possibly a wise one. Now this has been said many  times  by any people in many places, yet despite its incontrovertible wisdom the message continues to get lost on policy makers.  So in cases like this, we have to take a page out of the book of good people who us sell soap and cars, and keep repeating our message. Today, let’s hand over the podium to Kent Strumpell  from Los Angeles and see what he had to say on our subject in LA Streetsblog back in early 2008. To this reader it has lost none of relevance over almost half a decade.  Read on.

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Originally posted on Price Tags:

A rather fascinating genre of videos has been released by Thrash Labs – time-lapse studies of major cities without any visible people.  Rather haunting, I know, in light of current events, but they have a certain beauty, or at least serve as visual postcards.

San Francisco

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Seattle

 

 

New York

 

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