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

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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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World Car Free Days Collaborative (update)

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Lyon, France. 13 May 2014

Dear Reader,

Please note that this WCFD website is part of a greater whole, and largely that what you find here traces back to a time when this website served as the “Journal of Record” of EcoPlan’s long term World Car Free Days project, which continues to this day. It is semi-conveniently divided into two parts, as follows:

- – >  Link to site here

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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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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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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

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

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

Rethinking Car Free Days in Taipei City: Part I

Your editor was kindly invited by Mayor Hau Lung-pin to come to Taipei City this year to discuss preparations for the celebration of the city’s tenth successive Car Free Day — and as part of this collaborative brainstorming process to draw on my experience of some seventeen years working with this, one hopes, transformative transportation approach in different cities around the world.  The presentation is in three parts:

* Rethinking Car Free Days in Taipei City: Part I – This introduction

Part II – Keynote Address

Part III: Letter and comments from Jason Lin,  Commissioner of Transportation, City of Taipei

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Wanted: Group videoconferencing trial participants

A note to readers  who may be interested in giving free group videoconferencing a trial run.
We have been using videoconferencing for our international networking on a daily basis since mid-1993, and have always had great difficulty in understanding why these technologies are not being put to more and better use by our friends and colleagues around the world, especially those with a commitment to sustainable transportation. About every eighteen months (call it a Moore Generation) we find ourselves switching something in terms of hardware or software so as to be able to be more effective in this important part of our overall communications and contact program. We are now on the lip of a new generation and would like to invite you to join us for limited testing and otherwise and laying the base for something that is, I firmly believe, going to be truly useful for us all. Continue reading

Upcoming: South Korea to host 2011 Sustainable Transportation Conference

Changwon, Korea is the next destination for the World Congress on Mobility for the Future of Sustainable Cities on October 22-24. EcoMobility Changwon 2011 is an event that will provide enriching perspectives on sustainable urban mobility. Through the expertise of renowned transportation professionals from around the globe, participants will be exposed to fruitful debates on mobility and the future of sustainable cities.

* * * Click here for story from TheCityFix

Autolib’ to the starting line

This weekend saw the first public testing of the much bruited Autolib’ carshare project currently getting underway here in Paris. And as you wait for our in-depth coverage, on-the-spot  interviews and film  we thought you might find it handy to refresh your understanding of the basic objectives and challenges, with this reprint of our 10 December 2010 article in which we try to take a balanced view of this ambitious transportation project.  You will be hearing a lot more about Autolib’ in the coming months. If it works, it will be a major transformative project and will make a lot of people start to think in quite different terms about how they are going to get around in the city in the future. (For a quick print update try here and here.  And for a short video, here) Continue reading

Towards Car Free Cities. Guadalajara, Mexico, 5-9 Sept. 2011

The time to move towards carfree cities has come. We must come from the cities that we don´t know to the ones we belong to. Step by step moving onto the right way. To make a call up, to share this view and to open our own mind in order to have a better future for all of us, to find better ways to transport ourselves in a conscious way. It´s time to move on. Continue reading