“The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces”

This for your weekend viewing pleasure just in from Clarence Eckerson, Streetfilms, NYC:

When I first got started making NYC bike advocacy and car-free streets videos back in the late-1990s on cable TV, I didn’t know who William “Holly” Whyte was or just how much influence his work and research had on New York City. A few years later I met Fred and Ethan Kent at Project for Public Spaces. I got a copy of Whyte’s 1980 classic, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, which in its marvelously-written, straightforward style is the one book all burgeoning urbanists should start with.

Recently, I read it again. With all the developments in video technology since his day, I wondered: How might Whyte capture information and present his research in a world which is now more attuned to the importance of public space? What would he appreciate? Are his words still valid?

So I excerpted some of my favorite passages from the book and tried to match it up with modern footage I’ve shot from all over the world while making Streetfilms. I hope he would feel honored and that it helps his research find a new audience.

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Surprising Things You Never Knew About Transport

This is the first in a series of four short films prepared by a faculty team from the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol). The four podcasts pose some interesting questions and give an insightful appraisal of what influences travel habits, delivered by nationally leading experts in the field of transport research: Professor Glenn Lyons, Dr Steve Melia, Professor Graham Parkhurst and Professor John Parkin. Today’s film is presented by Steve Melia and looks into some surprising questions from Steve’s forthcoming book ‘Urban Transport Without the Hot Air’. All four films can be viewed on the UWE Bristol web pages.

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Women in Transport – As seen from Uganda

One of World Streets most consistent, persistent policy objectives is our long-term and firmly held recommendation that not only (a)  should our transportation systems be designed to offer as the highest priority full and fair service for women of all ages and stations of life, but also that (b) the decision process must be structured so as involve something approaching a full quorum of female leaders and participants. For more on that we invite you to click here for World streets coverage of these issues since 2009, and for more on the Gender, Equity & Transport Forum 2.0 go here – http://gatnet.wordpress.com.

The following article on the status and role of women in transport in Uganda has been sent to us by the Civil Society Coalition on Transport (CICOT) in Uganda.

uganda women street carrying on heads

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Getting ready for Earth Car Free Day (in 2001)

From the Archives:

Back in March of 2001 a reporter from Grist Magazine got in touch with Eric Britton of EcoPlan’s long-standing World Car Free Day program for an interview concerning progress in the run-up for the first Earth Car Free Day, being jointly organized at the time in partnership with the Earth Day Network for a 19 April 2001 blast-off. The interview eventually morphed into a week-long series of articles and reflections on various aspects (real and imagined) of the Car Free Day push which you will find below. (For original articles click to Grist at http://grist.org/article/britton-earthcarfree/full/).

illegal taxi chinese destroy 1

 

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World Car Free Day 2014: “La femme est l’avenir de l’homme”

cropped-indnesia-bandugn-gils-cross-walki.jpg

Celebrating Bandung’s Car Free Day. Known as “We shot Bandung” Credit: Ikhlasyl Amal.

At a terrible time in the history of mankind, I propose to you this photograph as a message of hope and a silent clue to a better, sweeter future for all. . . agreeing as I do with the poet Louis Aragon when he wrote so long ago: “La femme est l’avenir de l’homme” (“Woman is the Future of Mankind”).

What about this? Let’s get together, you and, I to see what we can do about making this the universal theme of World Car Free Day this year . . .  in as many cities and countries around the world as we can.  One city at a time.

Your turn!

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Helsinki: Toward a “Better than car” transportation system

World Streets readers will certainly want to stay on top of this project of the city of Helsinki to come up with what we call a “better than car transportation system”. The excerpts just below taken  from an article published in the Guardian yesterday will lead you to the full piece. There is a mild irony to the extent to which the “technological core” of the project has to do with the mobility arrangements which have been receiving steady, and happily increasing, attention since the mid-1960s, namely DRT or Dial-a-Ride. The massive change elements which fundamentally transform and scale up the basic DRT of long past operational system is a combination of close to universal mobile phones, abounding apps, and Big Data. That plus a good dose of public entrepreneurship and outreach changes everything. We invite you to have a look and to share your thoughts with us about this intriguing real world adventure.

Helsinki, Finland.

Urban mobility, rethought … Helsinki, Finland. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

Running out of cars? Let’s have a closer look at the evidence

green-carGlen Lyon of the University of the West of England draws our attention to a recent expert event in Britain looking critically at the evidence and debates surrounding ‘peak car’. The article to which he draws our attention provides a detailed written account of a roundtable discussion on the topic which took place in London on 20 May 2014. Much needed, it is now available at: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/23277/. A summary follows.

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