Category Archives: Activism

Letter from Stockholm: Public Transport is a Common Good

World Streets welcomes discussion of fare free sweden planka nu fair jumpingpublic transport because we believe that it is important to listen to alternative views from different organizations and countries in order to arrive at wise public policy. This contribution comes from one of the most active international groups pushing zero fair public transport, Planka.nu in Sweden.

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CFDs: Get the nose of the camel under the tent.

Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the road and think about it

Once a year in mid-summer we wind up the World Car Free Day Collaborative site at www.worldcarfreedays.com as we have done yearly for the last 15 years to get it ready to serve as an information source and contact tool for cities and others who are considering events in the second half of the year.  Most notably among these the numerous Car Free Day events are those that tend to cluster around the end of September, including the annual European Mobility Week and its multitude of CFDs, most but not all of which in Europe, which you can check out for yourself at http://www.mobilityweek.eu/home/. Continue reading

Editorial: Why are we losing the sustainability wars? In transport, in cities, in our lives? Because we are . . .

Consider these irrefutable unpleasant truths:

There may be successes and improvements in this project, in this  place, in this way, but when we look at the bottom line — i.e., the aggregate impact of our transport choices and actions on the planet  — it is clear that we (that’s the collective “we” including all of us who have in some way committed to or accepted this great responsiblity, this author certainly included) are failing, big time. And if we are frank with ourselves, we can see that this is quite simply because . . . Continue reading

Whenever I hear the word revolver . . . I reach for my culture.

We have long-held a theory at the New Mobility Agenda that you can never tell where the next good idea is going to come from. So you really do have to keep your eyes, ears and minds wide open, and learn where you can, where you can, from whom you can. For example, Volkswagen in the New Mobility Agenda? Well, what not? Let’s show you one great idea that you may not have seen the first time around and that we have just this morning plucked out from our archives.
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La femme est l’avenir de l’homme

* Click to enlarge

The French poet Louis Aragon told us some two generations ago that “Woman is the future of man”. And if we had any doubts about that as we enter into 2012, we have today before our eyes this exceptional, moving photograph of a street demonstration yesterday in which several thousand brave women marched through central Cairo in an extraordinary expression of anger over images of soldiers beating, stripping and kicking female demonstrators in Tahrir Square. Continue reading

Cycles of Change: Pedaling to Empowerment in Dhaka

Bangladeshi women face significant barriers from family, neighbors and society in getting on a bike a riding around town in bright daylight. Freedom of mobility is seriously curtailed in Dhaka if women don’t feel safe to travel independently in their own city. Over 35% of female commuters in Dhaka depend on a cycle rickshaw and as more major roads ban these rickshaws, daily mobility for women is threatened furthermore. Arohi’s tagline: “Pedaling the way to empowerment” summarizes the links that we plan to draw between cycles, mobility and empowerment. Continue reading

Streets are for people.

Roads are for vehicles. Streets are for people.

These are people who are reclaiming their streets.

- Cairo Street scene. January 2011

No man is an island.

World Streets

Street Talk: Ivan Illich on Sharing in Transport

“The habitual passenger cannot grasp the folly of traffic based overwhelmingly on transport*. His inherited perceptions of space and time and of personal pace have been industrially deformed. He has lost the power to conceive of himself outside the passenger role. Addicted to being carried along, he has lost control over the physical, social, and psychic powers that reside in man’s feet. The passenger has come to identify territory with the untouchable landscape through which he is rushed. He has become impotent to establish his domain, mark it with his imprint, and assert his sovereignty over it. He has lost confidence in his power to admit  others into his presence and to share space consciously with them. He can no longer face the remote by himself. Left on his own, he feels immobile.”

Ivan Illich in Energy and Equity (Chapter: Speed-stunned imagination) Continue reading

“Time to count the spoons”. Alan Atkinson on sustainabilety back-peddling

Dr. Samuel Johnson reminded us some time back that “When a man proclaims his honor loudly at the table, it’s time to count the spoons”. Which is what Alan AtKisson has to offer on the subject of back-peddling as he comments on loudly proclaimed sustainability initiatives from Europe and America. Continue reading

World Carfree Day: Interview with Eric Britton

September 22 is an important date to remember – it’s World Carfree Day (WCD). Celebrated in towns and cities all over the world, it’s a day when streets are closed to cars and open for pedestrians, pedalers, parties and pleasure. Eric Britton, a sustainability activist, international adviser and consultant on sustainable transportation, is recognised for his work promoting and propelling WCD to  international attention. Much of his work involves co-ordinating the collaborative New Mobility Agenda and World Streets online journal, which encompass a number of possible transport solutions, including public transport, bike sharing and shared space projects. In an interview with Carbusters, Eric shared his thoughts about the problems, popularity and prospects for WCD, and points out the importance of bringing it into the policy agenda of governments in order to improve urban transport sustainability.

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Building knowledge and support: New Mobility Focus Groups

Group problem-solving and collaborative tool development have been among the key objectives of the New Mobility Agenda since its creation in 1988. Our thesis was and is that there are a growing number of able people and clever innovative projects around the world that are leading the way — and that it can be useful if we here at World Streets can help to open up peer dialogues and better link and support them. The tools we have developed and continue to make pretty good use of are, by today’s standards, very simple, but they do work.

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“The Weekly Carnage” (A template for your city)

True democracy is only possible with the daily participation of vigilant and active citizens. Periodic elections and public administrations are of course critical building blocks for a democratic society; but without an active citizenry the full benefits of democracy evade us.  As active citizens we are obliged to act as “a thorn in the side of possibly hesitant administrators, politicians and businessmen in denial; and through our joint efforts, energy and personal choices, placing them and ourselves firmly on the path to a more sustainable and more just society.”

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Velo-City Global 2010 Conference opens in Copenhagen

From Morten Lange, Reykjavík on his way to VeloCity 2010.

Tomorrow, Tuesday 22 June, the 2010 Velo-City Global Conference opens in Copenhagen, and will last for 4 days. I can warmly recommend taking a look at the program and abstracts available at the web-site, www.velo-city2010.com I trust that also for people not attending the conference, the programme and abstracts can supply useful pointers to people working in interesting fields, regarding cycling and the South.

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World Streets 100% Answer to Oil Spills, Geopolitical Dysfunctionality, and the Running out of Oil Syndrome

Courage. Not all that terribly hard actually, and certainly not impossible. The leading international edge of policy and practice in our field have over the last two decades developed the tools, experience and technical competence needed to cut fossil fuel dependence by 50% in one year. And if we can do that – if we can come even within shouting distance of this great and obtainable goal – that is going to change everything. But to get the job done we are going to have to challenge our brainpower and collective ability to influence leadership, policy decisions and investments in our chosen field. Lazy folks, bought souls and fatalists kindly abstain.
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"In the slums of Nairobi" What do you do when you are losing a war?

If it is your assumption that we are at present losing the war for sustainable transport and sustainable lives — and that is very definitely our position here at World Streets — and if it is your firm intention not to lose it — as it is ours! — then what do you do when the going gets tough? Well you look around and put to work every potentially promising tool you can lay your hands on. Now we make a pretty consistent effort in these pages to bring to your attention creative media that illustrates, renders more understandable and supports our noble cause. But we need more: so what about doing more along these lines taken from today’s edition of the International Herald Tribune?
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International Women’s Day . . . and World Streets

Today is the ninety-ninth anniversary of the first International Women’s Day, a day well worth celebrating. And while we are at it a perfect occasion to remind ourselves of what we need to be thinking about and trying to do over the next twelve months to make sure that when 2011 and that important 100th anniversary roll around, we have made our own best effort for a better and brighter future for all. Because. . . women hold the key to the future of not only sustainable transportation but also to a sustainable and just world. It’s that simple. Continue reading

Profile: Robin Carlisle in South Africa. "A helluva lot of people don’t have cars. I have to look after them"

To move from the unfair and hopelessly inefficient deadlock that is old mobility toward sustainable transport and sustainable cities, we need concepts, dialogues, demonstrations, projects and programs. But none of this is going to happen if we don’t have the people: the warm, surely fallible but somehow thoughtful, daring and courageous human beings who are needed to bring all this about.We need more heroes, wouldn’t you agree? Our Profiles here on World Streets are intended to remind the world that whenever something good happens, it is because there are real live people behind it. Let’s take Robin Carlisle who is working for change in Capetown South Africa for example. Continue reading

Green Drinks: From Beer to Eternity? (Or more than a pretty web page)

When we first set up shop here in Paris some years ago, we thought a lot about creating lively and inviting environments for all kinds of people to get together and exchange ideas and learn from each other in our areas of common interest. But for the most part this took the form of the familiar mix of workshops, conferences, and of our various virtual get-togethers on the web. Then one day in 2007 we learned of Green Drinks, and thought to give it a go in Paris.

Introduction: Our goal back then was to create here in this big and busy city an inviting environment which would encourage serendipitous encounters which cut across the usual professional and disciplinary lines. For us it was important that participation be easy and open, and that it bring in young people and as many women as possible. And a wide range of different kinds of backgrounds and views. As luck would have it, a group of young Parisian professionals agreed to take over the actual running of the project, which they continue to do successfully to this day.

So on the occasion of your next trip to Paris if you want to take the temperature of the green agenda here in all its varieties be sure you check out the webpage at http://www.greendrinks.org//Paris. On the last Monday or each month, the action starts at 19h30 at the Café Epicerie, 38 rue Sambre et Meuse 75010 Paris. you can also check out the organizers blog at www.greendrinks-paris.org.

And oh yes, why don’t you give some thought to creating a Green Drinks in your own city. You just may surprise yourself? There are more people and more brains thinking about and working on these issues than most of us would ever guess. Try it and let us know how it works out.

Now let’s hear what Edwin Datschefski who was there at birth and is the International Coordinator of Green Drinks has to tell us about how all this came to be.

Green Drinks: From Beer to Eternity?

A bunch of us who work in the environmental field used to meet up for a beer in London once a month. It was a nice gathering, and we always encouraged people to invite others, so you never knew who would be there and they were always interesting people and great connections were made and cool ideas were had. We started in 1990 and called it Green Drinks.

We used to call round the week before and tell people the date and venue, and for a while we tried mass faxing, but it was quite hard work and this was of course just in our spare time and “borrowing” office resources etc. so we were very pleased when email finally became widespread and we could set up an email list to send out reminders.

We also set up a fixed date (second Tuesday of the month) and venue so people could easily remember the rule and also put it in their diaries ahead of time.

In 2000 I set up a website greendrinks.org as an easy-to-remember URL and soon after that we realised a few friends from Oxford were having their own Green Drinks too so we listed them on the website. Soon there were quite a few listed on the website so I handed over organisation of the London Green Drinks to Paul Scott, who still runs it, in order to concentrate on the now-international website. When I say ‘concentrate’ bear in mind this is all stuff in my spare time, the odd hour here and there.

New York City joined as the first US GD in 2002 and as Green Drinkers travelled the world and relocated jobs, more sprung up. Today in 2010 there are 600 Green Drinks in 62 countries.

I specifically used biological thinking in the design of Green Drinks. I wrote the Green Drinks Code (http://www.greendrinks.org/Start) as a code of practice but also as a genetic code, the DNA of the organism.

Green Drinks is biological in that it is:

Distributed — there is no central organisation, each city organiser can do what they like and maintains their own list of members.

Viral — member-get-member is the basic principle — a simple concept spread by word of mouth.

Adaptive — each Green Drinks city has its own logo and traits, the ones that work best for its location — some are a little formal, some rather random, some have speakers to break the ice (like in Scandinvia and some US cities), most are just freeform. The freeform nature of most of the mingling is the key, and this can be enhanced by good hosting and introduction-making on the night.

I think the strangest thing about Green Drinks is that the goals are so vague and the benefits hard to quantify — but they are undoubtedly there. Sometimes people say we should get some charitable or government funding, but then others will insist that independence is far more important. Of course it’s not much of a proposal in conventional terms — ‘We need this funding so me and my mates can go have a few beers together’ …

I’ve upgraded the website a few times in recent years, and we are flirting with on-line social networking via Facebook, Ning, Twitter etc but there are countless online environmental networks, and Green Drinks is fundamentally about face to face interaction in a room.

I have never made any predictions or even plans about Green Drinks, but I would guess we will continue to expand though this may well slow as of course sometimes cities drop out and that has to be matched with new cities joining up.

I think Green Drinks has some good lessons for other types of organisation who want to grow, and staying informal and ad hoc is a key one of them. Go along to a Green Drinks near you to see how it works, or drop me a line if you think I can help with any ideas on your organisation design.

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Edwin Datschefski is the International Coordinator of Green Drinks, www.greendrinks.org . Edwin’s latest book, The Total Beauty of Sustainable Products, is proving to be a contemporary classic, introducing everyone from students to CEOs to the delights and nuances of sustainable product development.

The Walkmobile approach to understanding transport

One of the major challenges we face when it comes to sustainable transportation is not so much to identify useful policies, projects and approaches but rather, once we have done this, to find a way to sell them to the public. Images and stories are part of this process. And if we are to win the war of sustainable transportation it will be because we are not only technically strong but also that we have these critical didactic and communications skills. Here is a sweet example with Hermann Knoflacher’s memorable “Gehzeug” or “walkmobile”

“We are increasingly retreating into enclosed environments, more or less
out of our own choice, while isolating ourselves from an outside
world subjected to noise, pollution and dust created by cars”
- Knoflacher in Die Zeit-Interview of 13 September 2007

The “walkmobile” approach to understanding transport

The “walkmobile” is a high technology reflection project was invented by Hermann Knoflacher, Professor at the Institute of Transportation at Vienna University of Technology. It is a simple frame made of wood and has the size of a car. A belt makes it easy to walk around with this frame.

The idea of the “walkmobile” is to show how much space a car needs and how much city space we are willing to cut from public space and give it away to the group of car drivers. This results in streets where the whole width is reserved for cars and motorbikes, leaving almost no space to pedestrians – as seen on many streets in Pune. If all the pedestrians would walk around with a “walkmobile” occupying the same space as a car, our footpaths will be very fast as congested as streets are today.

This clearly demonstrates that a car oriented traffic policy will lead to nothing but a collapse of mobility in the city. There have been many visualization projects on space consumption of different traffic participants, like pedestrians, cyclists, bus users and car drivers. The result was everywhere the same: non-motorized traffic and public traffic manages with much less space than individual motorized traffic.

If traffic policy continues to concentrate mainly on car drivers, we would essentially lose the space for living and the city would only consist of streets and parking places to satisfy the needs of car drivers. To create a city with good living quality traffic policy has to focus on human beings and not vehicles.

Compared to European countries, the car ownership per thousand people in India is quite low. But the number is expected to grow very fast. Cheap cars are being introduced to get the drivers of two-wheelers to shift to cars (e.g., the Tata Nano). So, it is clear that this can only lead to congestion. But how many flyovers will have to be built over flyovers until it becomes obvious to our city planners that this only worsens the problem?

Instead of making the same mistakes as the West in the last century – a century of the automobile – decision makers in India should learn from their mistakes and look for a sustainable answer. Today’s traffic policy has to find solutions how to avoid the growth of traffic. Before people rethink their use of motorbikes and cars, they need a true alternative. A good working, affordable, clean, safe, reliable and well and maintained broad network of public transport as well as pedestrian zones, parking fares, bicycle lanes and pavements have helped many other cities to solve their traffic problems.

It is as Prof. Knoflacher points out with his “walkmobile”: the cities we are living in should be made for humans not for cars. The space in cities is precious, that is a fact of urbanization. We must not give away this precious space to vehicles but convert it to places with a high amenity value.

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About the Walkmobile’s inventor:
Hermann Knoflacher has completed degrees in civil engineering, geodesy, and mathematics. Since 1975 he has held the post of professor at the Vienna University of Technology. In 1985 he became head of the Institute for Transport Planning. His research focuses on spatial planning, urban planning, and transport planning. He is one of the key contributors to the sustainable transport movement (know as Sanfte Mobilität in German). Since 2004 he is the president of the Club of Vienna. He is also a member of the Club of Budapest and the global pedestrian representative of the United Nations. He has recently have published a book in German “Virus Auto”, which he is in the process of translating into English.

About the author:
Robert Obenaus studied Geography in Germany at Humboldt University Berlin and is now working for the civil society organization Parisar in Pune, India. Parisar undertakes various activities of different kinds to promote and advocate sustainable transport. For more information please visit the website http://www.parisar.org.

About Parisar:
This article first appeared in Parisar and is published here with their permission.Parisar is a Pune, India based civil society organization which focuses on sustainable development. Over the last decade or so, its main focus has been the snowballing issue of urban transport in Pune and other Indian cities, working closely with World Streets and other leading groups in the field.

We support Medecins Sans Frontières in Haiti today And invite you to do the same

Paris. Sunday, 17 January 2010.
Greetings from a city living this mid-January 2010 day in peace, health and security. Our children are safe, our neighbors about to sit down to a full Sunday meal, and most of us will venture out onto the streets of our cities tomorrow morning to another full and peaceful day. You too I hope. But that is not at all the case in Haiti and its tragic streets. What can we do?

I: What we can do today

[Summary: Take 5 minutes, go to http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/donations/, and make your donation. You will be glad you did.]

But why do I interrupt your peaceful weekend with this unasked-for message? Because I am sure that somewhere in your heart you feel it is important that you take some kind of action in such an agonizing case. But what to do from so far away?

Here’s a thought. As it happens over the last couple of decades through our work with The Commons (since 1973), the New Mobility Agenda (since 1988) and over the last year on World Streets, I have had the great luck to meet, correspond with, get to know, and on occasion work directly with several thousand highly creative and engaged people in some eighty countries on all continents, just about all of whom know about adversity, and who I know have big hearts and are good neighbors in all senses of the word. Now that’s a lot of the right kind of people to know at a time of great need.

* Click here for video presenting MSF emergency report

Paul McPhun, MSF operations manager, gives a briefing here on the situation for MSF and our patients in Haiti, including damage sustained to MSF medical centres, our medical focus, the types of injuries and traumas we are seeing, further response plans, how medical teams are overwhelmed, having worked all night and concerns over staff and patients unaccounted for.

So following the latest from Haiti, here is the idea that struck me. Suppose you and I and the couple of thousand others we have come to know and resepct, come together to bond and carry out the same simple neighborly act that takes just a few minutes — and which I am sure every one of us, even the most modest, can afford with no great pain? If I do it, if you do it, then others will do it too. We may amaze ourselves. Let’s see how this might work.

It’s simple: We move to our computer or “smart” phone, click to Medecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders at www.msf.org and make a donation, large or small. Say ten or twenty Euros/dollars as a symbolic statement. Or perhaps the price of a meal this evening with someone you love, that latest iPhone that you may not really need, or more, That will be your choice, but the important thing is that we make our donation here and now, or in some other way no matter how small. And if you already did it, well go ahead and do it again.

I had already been thinking about Haiti of late for several reasons. Recently we started work with an NGO — EcoWorks International who maintain a small office in Port au Prince, where only two of their ten colleagues on the ground there have yet to report in– to lay the base for what we hoped were going to become a series of collaborative workshops with local groups, agencies and operators in support of low cost, high impact appropriate transport innovations across the country. The situation we were originally looking at on the ground was already about as tragic as you can imagine. But even that has been catastrophically cut short, for now, though we are ready to go as soon as circumstances permit. However as you are aware there is a great deal that must be done first.

So what about this, old friends and colleagues from all over this troubled planet? What about joining hands today in clicking to MSF’s donation page at http://www.msf.org/msfinternational/donations/. Once there all you have to do is pick your country and whip through their efficient donation cycle, using credit card or PayPal. I just did it here through their French site just now: it took all of five minutes, lightened my purse by a few Euros, and hey! I feel just one small bit better already. I am not just one more passive soul sitting this one out next to a blabbing TV. Of course I want to have done more, but we each do what we can afford.

May I then invite you, may I encourage you, may I entreat you to do the same? You will know that you have done the right thing. And once you have, if you find a minute please do drop a quick email to us here to editor@worldstreets.org to let us know that you have stepped up to the challenge, we can add your name to our World Streets honor roll.

If World Streets in all its forms and extensions and rhetoric and bustle does not care right down to our guts about what happens on the streets of the world, we are no more than idle chatterers.

Thank you for proving otherwise,

Eric Britton

PS. We next invite you to look to: World Streets/Haitian Streets: What to do once the emergency has been met

Cheer up! On your way back from Copenhagen, swing through Bologna for a clue to a sustainable planet

Okay. COP15 has been pretty discouraging thus far. But this is no time to give up. To the contrary let’s start this next phase by energetically expanding our horizons, finding more common ground with people, cities and groups around the world who wish to act. Here as one example of something you can see every day in your own city. The great neglected overarching transportation mode that is the alpha and omega for every trip we take, is getting a close look in an exhibit in Bologna starting tomorrow.
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US Report Shows How Safe Routes to School Initiatives Protect Children Walking and Bicycling

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership in the United States has just released a new report showing how Safe Routes to School programs can be harnessed to keep children safe from traffic dangers while walking and bicycling to school. The report explores the approaches five different communities used to create safer environments for children walking and bicycling. The lessons are universal.

The five communities (Santa Rosa, CA; Miami-Dade County, FL; state of ME; Springfield, MO; and Portland, OR) each demonstrate how Safe Routes to School evaluation, education, encouragement, enforcement, and engineering can address traffic safety concerns. Many of these safety improvements are made at relatively low costs to communities and schools, yet have profound effects on keeping children safe while also improving physical health and the environment.

The report demonstrates there are many different approaches to improving safety for children walking and bicycling:

• In Santa Rosa, CA, after children received pedestrian safety education, there was a 63 percent increase in children using the crosswalks to cross the street rather than crossing at unmarked locations.

• In Miami-Dade County, FL, since the launch of the WalkSafe™ child pedestrian safety program in 2001, there has been a 43 percent decrease in the total number of children ages 0-14 hit by cars.

• An analysis comparing bicycle crash rates in Maine for the eight years before their Bicycle Safety Education Program was implemented (1992 to 1999) with the first eight years the program has been offered (2000-2007) reveals a 51 percent drop in bicycle crashes for children aged 10-14.

• Springfield, MO has already demonstrated the impact special roadway signage can have on vehicle speeds. Data from their pilot showed that 85 percent of motorists reduced their speeds by three to five miles per hour without any increase in enforcement after speed limits were reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph.

• Infrastructure improvements in Portland, OR have been successful in helping decrease crashes, as well as the severity of the crashes. Total crashes decreased by nearly 25 percent and there was a 32 percent decline in pedestrian injuries from crashes.

Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership noted, “The success stories in this report show the power and promise of Safe Routes to School to help communities all across the country to address safety risks and improve conditions for students walking and bicycling to school.”

In 2007, an estimated 14,000 children ages 14 and under were injured as pedestrians, while more than 300 children were killed while walking. In 2008, an estimated 52,000 bicyclists were injured in motor vehicle crashes, and 21 percent of those bicyclists-nearly 11,000 children-were age 14 or younger. Children walking and bicycling to school represent 11 percent of injuries and fatalities during the school commute, but just 14 percent of trips and less than two percent of miles traveled.

Transportation for America also recently released a report, Dangerous by Design, identifying the dangers that pedestrians face in 360 metropolitan areas and focusing on solving the epidemic of preventable pedestrian deaths through active transportation. Safe Routes to School programs can provide tangible solutions to major traffic safety issues such as these, making it safer for children-and other residents-to walk and bicycle in their neighborhoods and to and from school.

Congress launched the federal Safe Routes to School program in 2005 through the federal transportation bill and provided $612 million for five years of state-level implementation of programs that build sidewalks, bike lanes, and pathways, while also providing funding for education, promotion, and law enforcement. Federal Safe Routes to School funds are educating children on safe bicycle and pedestrian practices, increasing traffic enforcement to improve adherence to traffic laws and speed limits, and making infrastructure improvements to create safe places for children to walk and bicycle.

The report can be viewed at www.saferoutespartnership.org.


The Safe Routes to School National Partnership, hosted by the non-profit Bikes Belong Foundation, is a network of more than 400 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools, and professionals working together to advance the Safe Routes to School movement in the United States. The Partnership focuses on building partnerships, changing policies, advancing legislation, and improving the built environment.

November 2009: World Streets This Month

Another busy month on World Streets, our ninth since beginning publication in March 2009. This month we present news and views from colleagues, contributors and sources in Italy, France, Taiwan, Britain, India, Iceland, Canada, Netherlands, the US, and of course Denmark and the city of Copenhagen. Check out World Streets This Month and see for yourself if we have managed to combine information and leads on matters of interest to you, which otherwise you might have missed: and each day in a form which is brief and engaging. World Streets’ goal is not only to inform but to challenge and to stretch your mind. Read on to see what the planet’s only sustainable transport daily had to offer this month.

World Streets This Month, November 2009:
10,688 visitors from all continents dropped in to pick up a total of 21 original articles and opinion pieces, touching on such exotic topics as Green Transport in Taiwan, influencing traveller behaviour, honking strategies to drive pedestrians off the road, mobility hints for meeting nice people, politicians who can’t count, another guest appearance by the relentless Ms. Veronica Moss, AUTO lobbyist, and a continuing drumbeat about the importance of sharing in transport as a strategy for more and better service, better economics and a lighter footprint on the planet. All that with a continuing cycle of articles, questions, images and alternate thoughts on the most troubling run-up to COP15 next month in Copenhagen. A busy month and an important time for our cities . . . and our planet.

To obtain the latest World Streets This Month, in one click. And free!

* Click here to directly call up on-line November postings

* Here for the PDF covering the full month.

* And here to go to the archives which contain all past monthly editions.

Who in the world reads World Streets?

This map identifies the last eighty points that downloaded the journal as of this date. From it you can see where we are hitting: mainly in North America, Europe and increasingly in Asia. That of course is very gratifying.


Gratifying yes, but the hard truth is that we are not reaching much of Africa, Latin America (language problems?), the Middle East or with one exception (a regular reader in Kazakhstan) the countries of the former Soviet Union. There are lessons for us all in this and we here are today trying to work out what to do about this. We have questions.

One of these is to ask: how can we expect to get the necessary broad international agreements needed to cut back on emissions and to create more sustainable cities, if the news, the understanding and the basic engagements are not there? This is no less than the dilemma of Kyoto, past, present and future. So how do we penetrate?

Stay tuned, we have a few ideas on this. Starting with this.

Clue: language editions. The language of the streets of the world is what you hear and read in that place. Sometimes English, more often something else. So to get the message out we need to be truly and deeply polyglot (and interesting and relevant). We have already started.

So for a first step we invite you to check out our new collaborative Italian language edition Nuova Mobilità at www.nuovamobilita.org to see how that works. Next stops, we hope: Spanish and Chinese. With more to follow. But we will take them one at a time and always in close partnership with talented people who care about their streets, their cities and our planet.

SOS. If you care about World Streets read this!

We have yet to find the sponsorship which is needed to keep the journal afloat in 2010. The situation is extremely serious and may well require that we are going to have to close down the journal in December on the last day of the COP15 negotiations, unless we get some support before then. That’s December 18th.

So if you would like help us raise funds or otherwise brainstorm on this, please get in touch. I am sure that with energetic collaboration of those of you who come here with interest and appreciation, we will solve this problem and go on to do better yet in 2010. I rather think the planet needs us. Do you agree? Don’t be shy now. Get in touch. Lend a hand. After all, it’s your planet. We can do it together.

Eric Britton
Editor

Archives: Sonnet for the Neighborhood Democratic Caucus. In Honor of Kenneth Ewart Boulding

Paris. Nov. 1994: Kenneth Boulding, 1909-1993, was one of the magisterial figures in the field of social science of the second half of the twentieth century. In the last two years of his life, he took to writing sonnets, 216 in all between 1981 and 1993. We have taken one of these to sound the theme for our collaborative knowledge-building enterprise here on World Streets: “how to turn a heterogeneous caucus into a choir, singing the same good song, So, to democracy all should be turning When it is not just voting, but group learning.”


Sonnet for the Neighborhood Democratic Caucus

They come — a somewhat miscellaneous group
Of people gathered from the neighborhood.
Some may be naive — some are fairly good
At jumping through the somewhat twisted hoop
Of politics — not getting in the soup
Of disagreement, finding where they stood
On touchy issues that might mean they could
Lose the election; learning when to stoop,

And when to stand against a blatant wrong,
When to be quiet, when a little raucous,
And how to turn a heterogeneous caucus
Into a choir, singing the same good song,

So, to democracy all should be turning
When it is not just voting, but group learning.

- Kenneth Boulding, Boulder, Colorado, 14 April 1992

Who was Kenneth Boulding?

Professor Boulding was internationally known for his innovative and sensitive work in the field of economics, Along with the presidency of five other major scholarly societies, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science ,he was elected as president of the American Economics Association. He taught at universities on three continents, wrote more than thirty significant books and hundreds of articles, pamphlets and papers, and was awarded numerous honors for his work not only as an economist pushing the forefront of his profession, but also as a humanist, futures thinker and major activist in the field of peace and conflict resolution.

Ken Boulding was a profoundly democratic man, a Quaker (the Society of Friends), a loving and diligent work partner with his wife, the eminent Norwegian-born sociologist Dr. Elise Boulding, and both a worrier (about our ability to survive the challenges of the modern world) and an optimist (he decided to dedicate his life to doing something about it anyway).

Books in Print by Kenneth Boulding

The following lists the available titles of books by Ken Boulding from Books in Print. They can be ordered through your local book dealer which is what I am sure he would have preferred) or of course any of the booksellers that ply the net.

• The Future: Images & Processes
• The Future: Images & Prophecies
• National Images & International Systems
• Structure Of A Modern Economy
• There Is A Spirit: The Nayless Sonnets $4.50
• Toward A New Economics
• Three Faces Of Power
• Conflict And Defense
• Economics As A Science
• Meaning Of The 20th Century
• Beyond The Bomb
• Mending The World: Quaker insights on the social order
• Economics Of Human Betterment
• The World As A Total System
• The Organizational Revolution: A Study In The Ethics Of Economic Organization
• Preface To Grants Economics
• Evolutionary Economics
• Disarmament And The Economy
• Ecodynamics: A New Theory Of Societal Evolution
• Redistribution Through The Financial System
• Stable Peace
• Economics Of Peace
• Peace And The War Industry
• Mayer Boulding Dialogue On Peace Research
• The Evolutionary Potential Of Quakerism
• The Image: Knowledge In Life And Society
• New Nations For Old
• Collected Papers Of Kenneth E. Boulding
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Editor – Late night thoughts:

Late last night as I was tossing, turning and thinking about how we are going to be able to find a way to continue World Streets, my thoughts turned to Ken Boulding, who in his latter years also had his active mind at times keeping him up in the middle of the night. What he did often on those occasions was to click on the bedside lamp, pick up a pen and quietly write notes — but also from time to time one more of his several hundred sonnets, including the one you can see here. (His dear wife, Elise Boulding, told me about this when I called to ask her permission concerning the following.)

It was back in late 1994, one year after Professor Boulding’s death, when we were just cranking up the first iteration of our collaborative web presence (see http://www.xability.com/commons/comdedic.htm), that I decided to seek permission to dedicate the first year of our new worldwide group learning enterprise and “somewhat miscellaneous group” in honor of Professor Boulding, whose work had marked me deeply back in the days when I was something of an economist stretching for new ideas and clues about why people do the things they do. I contacted his wife, Mrs. Elise Boulding, who kindly gave me permission to do just that.

Today, fifteen full years later and at a time when competence in matters of world peace and conflict resolution have rarely been so important, his poem, his work and his example come to mind. “To democracy all should be turning. When it is not just voting, but group learning.”

That sounds to me much like what you, dear reader, and we are trying to do here. And you will I am sre agree: we have to try a lot harder. This is a challenge we should not fail.

Eric Britton, Paris

"Boys will be boys." And why it is important to change this now

Editorial: In the triple nexus that is the defining concern of World Streets – namely, mobility, land use and climate – we have to be ready to take stock and face up to the reality that most of the problems we face today in each of these areas are the result of the domination of an “old order”, a certain way of seeing and doing things. What have we got wrong? What can we do about it? And what might this mean to COP15 and beyond? Continue reading