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Category Archives: Dispatch
“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.”
Every 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..
Há quase 25 anos, abro a correspondência do dia e topo com uma carta do Japão, do poderoso MITI, perguntado se estaríamos dispostos a realizar um estudo sobre os monopólios estatais da cadeia produção/distribuição de sal que – apesar do crescente assédio dos eurocratas – ainda sobreviviam em dois países europeus: Áustria e Itália. A carta estipulava honorários mais do que generosos e dava a entender que se estivéssemos de acordo era só confirmar e ir começando.
This 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
We have no money gentlemen, so we shall have to think.
– Ernest Rutherford, on taking over Cavendish Laboratory in 1919
World Streets is an independent public interest publication which, as a matter of policy, we make freely available to all who are looking to understand, support, and contribute to the sustainability agenda anywhere in the world. We firmly believe that there should be no barriers, and especially not commercial ones, to the free circulation of news, tools, counsel and peer exchanges when it comes to the important issues of sustainable development and social justice.
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.
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 … Continue reading
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 … Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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:
What is a Zettabyte? Note: The Wikipedia definition follows here. Have a look in case you are not already up to speed on this rather commodious concept. But stay tuned because we have something else quite different in mind.
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.
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.