Category Archives: Activities/Events

Transforming transport in Penang – and the earlier the better

Transport in Penang (and all around the world for that matter) relies on non-renewable sources of energy. Think 20 cars with one person in each vehicle, versus one bus with 20 passengers. The former creates traffic jams and worsens pollution to detract from the overall liveability of a city. It is often argued that supplying more roads only creates more demand for their usage. With 10,000 more vehicles added to Penang’s roads each month [1], we will have to commit ourselves soon to a decision to enhance sustainable transport.

Think City Bhd invited Prof Eric Britton, managing director of EcoPlan International in Paris, founder of World Car Free Days and longtime advocate of sustainable transport initiatives, to Penang with the purpose of studying the transport system, meeting stakeholders and hosting a series of events to come up with ideas and a new perspective for transportation improvements across the state. Thus, Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility was arranged as a two-week itinerary that featured 11 focus group discussions, three master classes, a lecture, a symposium and dialogues with MPPP, MPSP and the Penang Transport Council.

Malaysia Penang heavy traffic in GT

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Ageing, Mobility and Wellbeing. Food for thought

Ageing, Mobility and Wellbeing.

Ageing, Mobility and Well-being.

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Sustainable Penang: Calendar of Main Events

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Penang Focus Group 1. Media Partners for a Sustainable Penang

 penang - media traffic camera

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Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda Program Announcement of 3 Sept. 2013

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Penang Focus Group 6. Civil Society

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Ten Targets for Sustainable Penang: 2013/2014

The goal of this year’s Sustainable Penang Autumn project is to use the dialogues maylasia - street art childrenand other contacts in order to define a series of at least ten “transformative actions” that can be planned and carried out over the fifteen months following this first program. With an eye to then reviewing progress action by action in a second event to take place in Penang in the opening months of 2015. A sort of open progress report and collaborative reflection for next steps.

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Not Sustainable Development

garbage dumpAs your professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Society you would have thought that I might at least have sat you down at the beginning of the seminar and given you a clear understanding of that oft-repeated rarely-questioned phrase “sustainable development”.

This Nathalie Nomblot brought most embarrassingly to my attention yesterday when we were struggling to find a good topic for her make-up Quick Report, which I had usefully (!) suggested  she might write on “sustainable development” and “something else” (her choice).  To which she energetically wrote back:  “In one sentence, could you please give me your definition of Sustainable Development? That would help!”

Oops!

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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: Continue reading

John Pucher reports on “City Cycling”

John Pucher (cycling guru and Professor of Transport Policy at Rutgers university) gave a public lecture on cycling in cities in LA earlier this week, introducing his new book “City Cycling” to an attentive audience.  Kent Strumpell of the City of LA Bicycle Advisory Committee was there taking notes.  Which he kindly shares with us here: Continue reading

Young Scholars/Future Leaders Fellows Program: Kaohsiung World Share/Transport Forum 2010

The Young Scholars/Future Leaders program organized in association with the inaugural Kaohsiung World Share/Transport Forum provided a highly  innovative and useful component of the 2010 event, which we are keen on build on and extend in the future. To this end, we publish here today background information taken from the original  event, as a stepping stone in the direction of bringing the entire program up to date and making it one of the key building blocks of the still to be decided 2013 World Forum.  More to follow on this shortly but for now read on here.

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On Building New Mobility Ecosystems: The mayor has some questions

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I understand Professor that you are preparing a major public address on new transport ideas for our city tomorrow. My staff tells me you are calling it “On Building New Mobility Ecosystems”. Now that sounds quite intriguing, but can you tell me in a few words that you have in mind to talk to us about? Continue reading

No Parking, No Business 1: What if the other guy actually has a point?

Last Saturday morning, the 23rd of June, I thought to ask an open question to several of our New Mobility Agenda fora as follows:

Has anyone out there ever run across a solid report or study showing that local businesses suffer financially when a zone is pedestrianized or made bike accessible? Or that real estate prices take a nose dive when such improvements are made? Most of us here are familiar with the other side of this coin, but it occurred to me that this such critical references might be useful to us all, given that these local conflicts and claims come up time and time again in cities around the world.

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Late Night Thoughts on Equity from Helsinki

Equity? Hmm. This, it turns out on inspection,  is not quite so easy a concept to get across. In English, and after two days of discussions with a wide variety of groups and people here in Helsinki, it’s already tough enough.  And I have learned, it’s  even more challenging in Finnish. Here are some late night thoughts on this word that I share with you here in the hope that it may inspire comments and clarification. So here you have my notes, more or less in the order that they came to mind late in the night.  Continue reading

Editorial: On the plane to Helsinki

I have always thought of myself not as a consultant – that is, someone with specific expertise to whom you ask directed questions and who gives you what you think/hope are the right answers – but rather as an “advisor”, i.e. someone whose role it is to sit next to you for a certain period of time and draw your attention to a certain number of things to which you might wish to give a closer look. (NB. My experience shows that it is usually a lot more comfortable to work with consultants.) Continue reading

Crowdsourcing Equity/Transport/ Helsinki

What are, say, the five questions concerning transport and equity (and Helsinki) that you would like to have me ask in your behalf in Helsinki starting tomorrow in our first Stakeholder/Peer Group Dialogues? Maybe easiest if you might give me your list  via eric.britton@ecoplan.org  Continue reading

Equity/Transport 2012: Road map for Helsinki Stage 1

This collaborative project takes the form of an “open conversation” looking into the pros and cons, the possibilities, barriers and perhaps eventual impossibilities, of creating an equity-based transportation system at the level of a city and its surrounding region. This first pioneering project, in what we hope will become a series of leading world city projects building on this first example, is being carried out under the leadership of the Helsinki Department of City Planning and Transportation, and is taking place over the period mid-February through mid-April 2912. (You will find further working papers and supporting media sources in the second half of this introduction.)

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Weekend pause: Equitable Music Flash from a Train Station in Helsinki

In the main rail station in Helsinki, host to the first Equity/Transport Civil Society project, a musical event that can help us to understand.

And should you wish some print background information on the city of Helsinki and its population, in addition to the usual useful synopsis offered by Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helsinki you can click here for a summary presentation prepared by the city.

Shortly we shall be presenting here as well information on the transport and mobility scene, including the good, the bad and the ugly (where we find it). But in the meantime it’s the weekend and you may wish to kick back and listen to Finlandia again.

And the lark of morning in the brightness sings,

Op-Ed: Do you know your ecological footprint?

Toward the end of each year, I take a few minutes to run my personal Ecological Footprint scan to see if I can get a handle on how I am doing relative to myself, to others and to the planet. Seems like the least I can do, not less because it does oblige me to think about my life pattern and choices in the greater scheme of things. “Walk the talk”, etc., etc. (PS. On a more global basis, to get a feel for where the high scores hang out, this map of earth lights at night will provide you with some good clues.) Continue reading

Report on 2011 Urban Mobility India Conference

Report for India Streets by Vidyadhar Date, Mumbai

The fourth annual Urban Mobility India conference organised in Delhi from December 3 to 6 by the ministry of urban development was no doubt a useful exercise. It did well to give more focus on bicycles and public transport than the previous conference. But the venue itself was highly inaccessible, difficult to reach even by a private car, leave alone public transport. Continue reading

The New Mobility Agenda gets a hearing in Barcelona with a “Come argue with me” session

This is to invite you to “attend” at least part of a session of a conference that is to take place next week in Barcelona on the topic of “Smart Cities”. You can find full information on the conference here, along with links to all working papers and videos that will be presented over the four days  The particular bit I would like to point you to is my keynote talk and challenge which opens the plenary on “Urban mobility: Achieving social efficiency”. A full set of working notes and background materials for my presentation is available here. As you will note I have serious reservations about pushing the concept of a “smart city”, which to my mind is a pretty loaded phrase, complete with tandem mindset. I invite your comments and critical remarks on any of the points that appear here, and I shall try to deal with them as possible. Thanks in advance. The final talk will be available on video, as will the presentations for all the speakers in this interesting session. Continue reading

More on public, private and social space. Andrew Curry reports from occupied London – Part II

Hopefully we have learned at least one hard lesson of life, and that is that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. And here right before our eyes we have a case in point with the Occupy movements that are sweeping Europe and North America, a public crisis that is most unexpectedly taking place on “public land”. And then suddenly, with no advance notice, everything starts to morph and the issues involved start to encompass not only the continuing unchecked egregious abuses of the financial community but also important (for democracy) issues of public  space — one of our consistent concerns here at World Streets. So in an effort to make sure that we do not miss the opportunity behind this crisis, we pass the word back to Andrew Curry so that he can build further on his article under this title earlier this week Continue reading

A Sustainable Transportation Clean Air Media Cornucopia

From the website of the Clean Air Institute, you have here for your convenient consultation more than 50 audio presentations made during their May 2011 Conference for Sustainable Transportation, Air Quality and Climate Change held in Rosario Argentia. They report that this collection is the largest online collection of audio presentations in Spanish on transportation issues, air quality and climate change. You can access it in Spanish here. And in English, a useable (to us) Google translate version here . Continue reading

Changzhi World Share/Transport Forum II: Opening keynote with Chinese subtitles

We have been asked to post the videoconference keynote address to the second World Share/Transport Forum that took place in Changzhi China from 24-25 October with Chinese subtitles which you will find here. Additional background information on the project follows below.

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World Share/Transport Forum II. Changzhi, China

Changzhi, China. 24 October: The Second World Share/Transport Forum opens in Changzhi today, with the mission of looking into the concept of Share/Transport for selective adaptation, application and extension in Chinese cities. The Forum is supported by a collaborative effort led by the China Urban Transport Development Strategy and Partnership Demonstration Project (CUTPP): National Development and Reform Commission, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It builds on and extends the pioneering work on share/transport initiated by the international team who laid the base for the first World Forum that was convened in Kaohsiung Taiwan in September 2010.

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