An article of April 26, 2013,” The Race of Our Lives”(GMO) by Jeremy Grantham, is a worthwhile read on your Tablet. Click here for article.) . In part because his basic thesis is that the white horse of hope for the future of our endangered species and planet just might turn out to be the triple whammy of (a) serious autopilot demographic downsizing, (b) deus ex machina help from our extended 21st century brains (think internet and/or Zetabytes) and (c) the bountiful near-term harvest of renewable energy. It’s a pretty good read for your spare time.
May the Year of the Snake be the year in which China no longer follows the old tired paths of the twentieth century, but shows the world new ways to tackle city mobility improvement with striking on-street examples of affordable and efficient ways to move into a new era of harmony and transportation with a human face.
Here are our seven wishes for efficiency, harmony and mobility in Chinese cities in this Year of the Snake. Continue reading
While musing about China these days, and particularly about how they are handling policy and invement decisions involviing transport, mobility and public space during this period of possible change of thinking at the highest policy levels there (See World Streets http://wp.me/psKUY-2Kb), I am listening this weekend once again, decades later, to the still surprising Nixon in China of John Adams. And wondering how my Chinese friends might react to this.
This is excellent piece of analytic work by a young Canadian scholar, strips away many of the all too easy myths about China and Chinese copycat culture, and puts before us quite a different picture of their competitive potential for a very different future. . Let me quote the author’s opening paragraph which does a good job of setting the stage for what follows.
Conversations about innovation in the United States are rife with the adversarial language of exceptionalism. Rather than view China’s economic rise as a threat, American businesses and policy makers should take an open-minded look at the Chinese national innovation system. Innovation, according to the Chinese, should be in service of overcoming social and environmental challenges, not only generating prosperity and new inventions. And rather than viewing innovation as an individual pursuit, the Chinese recognize the necessity of a strong government role.
And from this end I want to transpose this message specifically to the transport sector as it concerns us here at World Streets. If in the past we have seen that the Chinese response to their rapid city growth and exploding transportation requirements has been to mimic the (worst of) the West yard by yard, can we reasonably assume that they will continue on such a path in the future? I for one doubt it, so let’s keep a weather eye on the new generation of problem-solvers, solutions and approaches they are going to put to work. Since we all surely will have a great deal to learn from them. But now let’s hear what Eric Kennedy has to say about China’s new national innovation system:
THINKING ABOUT CHINA: 2013-2015
The drive to sustainable transport and sustainable cities in China is one of the central focuses of the World Streets 2013-2015 work program just getting underway (it would have to be, wouldn’t you say?), as you will see on the small menu item just to your top/left here. Thus far it is organized in two parts:
- What World Streets has had to offer thus far – Click here
- And from our Facebook page of this title – Click here
- – - >But stay tuned. More to follow here
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.
We have our work cut out for us in 2012. Look at the numbers. Despite the great efforts of the best and the brightest in leading cities and programs worldwide, we are still losing the sustainability wars. And we are losing them badly, whether in terms of climate, environment, resources, social justice, quality of life and, perhaps worse than the rest, in terms of those key underpinnings of efficiency and economy. Efficiency, economy and . . . equity are the indispensable pillars of a sustainability policy no matter what the sector. But more on that in a bit. Continue reading
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.
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.
Our old friend and long time colleague Lee Schipper is sitting in a hospital bed in Berkeley California today, and since your editor is stuck in Paris and can’t visit him, we thought that while he gets his strength back we would reach into our and others archives and publish a series of pieces to celebrate his deep knowledge of all that World Streets is about, his excellent judgement and his world level communications skills. (And if you have something by Lee that you would like to share with our readers as we wait for him to swing back into action, please send it on.)
Guangzhou is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. The economic hub of China’s southern coast, it has undergone three decades of rapid modernization, and until recently the city’s streets were on a trajectory to get completely overrun by traffic congestion and pollution. But Guangzhou has started to change course. Last year the city made major strides to cut carbon emissions and reclaim space for people, opening new bus rapid transit and public bike sharing systems. Continue reading
While Paris and London hog the world’s media attention with Boris’ Bikes and the Velib, by some accounts the Chinese city of Hangzhou now boasts the world’s largest and most used public shared bicycle system. Rory McMullan, contributing editor, reports on his impressions of the city, its transport network and the public bike system from an on-street carbon-free visit during the Chinese New Year.
We very much like this article that has just appeared in motoring.asiaone.com, in that it provides an example of how good new mobility ideas that have enjoyed a certain success in one place — in this instance the long time carsharing project of the City of Bremen — can start to make their way into other cities and parts of the world. Will this actually work out for Shanghai? Well at least it’s a start. Continue reading
This article appeared today in the Sierra Club’s series by their chairman Carl Pope, “Taking the initiative”. It is interesting to see how an American who has lived and worked in India in his youth sees the two models.
I appreciate this opportunity to share with this distinguished international audience by way of introduction to the presentations and discussions that will now follow a few words on why I think that the concept of more and better sharing of scarce resources of all kinds is an important concept for quality of life for each of us on this small and shrinking planet. And to talk with you as well briefly on why I have come to the conclusion that the transport sector gives us a great place to start both to do a lot more sharing and to learn about why we human beings like, or don’t like, the idea of sharing things. Let’s start with . . . ourselves. Continue reading
Although the interest is increasing, research about carsharing in China is still at a low level. The objective of this paper is to assess the feasibility for carsharing to work in China, and to find out which city in China is best suited for carsharing to first be tested. Therefore, this paper evaluates current transport background for carsharing in two of China’s major cities, and comparisons were conducted, focusing on: 1) transportation policy which relates to carsharing, 2) geographic features, and 3) demographic characteristics of residents. The main conclusion from this study is that carsharing has a great possibility for development in Beijing and Shanghai . . . Continue reading
Share/transport — the largely uncharted middle ground of low-carbon, high-impact, available-now mobility options that span the broad range that runs between the long dominant poles of “private transport” (albeit on public roads) and “mass transport” (scheduled, fixed-route, usually deficit-financed public services) at the two extremes. The third way of getting around in cities? Come to Kaohsiung in September and let’s talk about sharing. Continue reading
We need to be quite frank about this. World Streets is not, even if it may at times appear to be the case, an anti-car journal. To the contrary! There are many reasons for this, one of them being the sheer good sense of understanding that it’s going to be kind of hard to get rid of something like one billion of them with a simple swing of righteous rhetoric. And not to forget that cars really do play a powerful and useful role under many circumstances in the daily lives of many honest hard-working people. But the other side of this good sense coin is awareness that our very high and even cascading level of car dependence and profligate use are major challenges to quality of life, health and sound economics that need to be faced squarely and soon. Let’s see what our long time colleague “Mr. Meter”, Lee Schipper of the Global Metropolitan Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, has to say on the subject of car-madness in Asia.
“You can’t not notice the horrid traffic in Chengdu. But it seemed authorities had turned a blind eye to the situation, hoping that the construction of pedestrian overpasses and the opening of the subway later this year would resolve the problem. In the meantime, traffic is only getting more backed up. Late last month, it was announced that the Chengdu government is drawing up plans to address the situation by placing limits on the number of new license plates it issues.”
- Jane Voodikon reports from Chengdu. Continue reading
The UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has given us ample reason to reflect not only on the climate/ governance and the climate/transport links – the latter which we have taken as a pillar of transport policy for some years now – but also on our own contribution here at World Streets to the strategic re-thinking and institutional re-tooling process that must now be engaged. A challenge for which every fair person, lively mind and capable pair of hands is needed. Continue reading
The following was sent yesterday by the editor as a private communication to a small group of long time colleagues, as a kick-off to and call for collaboration in the new year ahead. Since the reaction has been so immediate and positive I have decided to post it to World Streets, as part of our transition strategy and general preparations for the year ahead. Comments more than welcome. Eric Britton, Editor, World Streets (Shown: Our editor at his desk as he reflects on 2009.) Continue reading