Paris, 21 October 2013. How much we learned about car sharing, and more importantly sustainable transport in cities, over the last decade and a half? To put that question into perspective, please find below the full text of a year 2000 collaborative report prepared here in Paris with the help of knowledgeable colleagues from around the world which does a pretty good job of summing up the state-of-the-art state of thinking about these matters at the end of the 20th century. Have a look at this 13 year old overview of the industry and its prospects, and tell us what you think.
You are warmly invited to comment on all or any of these.
Upon my return to Paris after a ten-day stint in Taiwan working with local colleagues in support of several on-going collaborative city projects there, and in particular in support of this year’s 10th anniversary Car Free Day program in Taipei City, I received the following letter from the Commissioner of Transportation commenting on their follow-up and plans for the year ahead. (Note: For the first part of this report, click here.) It is highly satisfying to see this steady expansion and achievement when it comes to innovation in support of more people-oriented initiatives and services. If you are looking for a good example from Asia, we suggest that you consider putting Taipei on your list.
Something like ten percent of our lonely planet’s population are today thoroughly locked in — or at least think they are — to an “automotive life style”. While in barely two generations the earth’s population has tripled, the automotive age has, step by silent surreptitious step, changed the way we live — and in the process made us prisoners of just that technology that was supposed to make us free forever. That’s a bad joke and bad news. But there is worse yet, and it comes in two ugly bites. For starters, in addition to the ten percent of us already hapless prisoners of our cars, another twenty percent of our soon seven billion brothers and sisters are standing in line eagerly in the hope of getting locked in as quickly as possible. And as if that were not bad enough, the consensus among most of the experts and policy makers is that our goose is forever cooked, and there is little anybody can do about it. Well, maybe not. Spend some time this Monday morning with Paul Mees, as he attacks this received belief and suggests . . . Well, why don’t I just get out of the way and let Paul speak for himself. Continue reading
Earlier this week I proposed the idea of a group read and commentary on Illich’s incisive and important 1974 book “Energy and Equity”, but as I thrashed through my personal library I was unable to lay my hands on what I remember as a small book with a yellow cover. Luckily Jane Voodikon, a Jason Chang Fellow and journalist from Chengdu, came to the rescue with a link to the full text which follows (thanks in turn to clevercycles.com and certainly with the full approval of Illich given the fact that Amazon’ best price for the hard cover edition today was $269.21). How do you think these remarks and views stand the test of time? We need to bear in mind the political (Vietnam, Cold War, Allende, 1968, etc.) currents of the time, along with the Oil Crisis, Club of Rome, The Limits of Growth, etc., discussions, concerns and panics of the early seventies. But none of this detracts from the singular vision that this exceptional observer and finest of men has given us.
So here you have it. The whole thing. Print it out. Mark it up. Share your thoughts. Let me take a single phrase from the book to get the ball rolling: “Participatory democracy postulates low-energy technology. Only participatory democracy creates the conditions for rational technology.” (And this almost two decades before the phrase “sustainable development” first appeared on the radar screen. So off we go with Illich as our guide!) Continue reading