World Streets is an open collaborative public interest program. We are entirely dependent on the support of contributors, authors, readers, subscribers and others who share our deep concerns about sustainable transportation, sustainable development and social justice. Subscription is free for all, and as a matter policy we do not accept advertising. We count on your counsel and support to be able to continue to do our part in 2014 and beyond.
Early this morning World Streets welcomed our 3000th registered reader. After almost to the day four years of faithful service to the cause of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, since the beginning of the year we have started to receive a substantial increase in these contacts. For example, even as I write this note, the number is up to 2015 (which you can confirm for yourself in the top right column). We feel proud and hope that you as one of our readers feel proud too. After all , the only reason we are here is to learn from each other and do what we can to make our cities and our planet fairer and better places for all, today and tomorrow.
Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. Instead from the beginning we have to take a . . .
World Streets needs to catch on before my feet get wet. – The Netherlands
The results are there for all to see and judge. And we now know that we are going to need a literal world wide web of inputs, collaboration and other forms of support if we are to continue this independent international sustainability adventure in the year ahead. Is what we are doing useful and worthy of support? 101 of our readers picked up their pens and responded to our question. Continue reading
The latest issue of the May/June SUTP newsletter has just been published and reports on the groups recent publications and activities, such as supporting training courses on transport in Malaysia, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and our contributions at Rio+20 Summit. You can pick it up freely here. Continue reading
World Streets makes the claim that it is a truly international journal and world-wide collaborative effort. Anyone can say that, it’s an easy claim to make. But just to put some muscle on it here is a map showing the points of origin of the readers who have come in thus far this morning. A day much like any other. Continue reading
While World Streets is a collaborative journal fed by a steady flow of contributions of hundreds of contributors from countries around the world, plunging the depths and enormous variations of the challenges of sustainable transportation and sustainable cities, our entire massive editorial staff consists of a single person, also known as Eric Britton, your servant, whose day job it is to spot, incite, cajole and eventually coordinate the articles, photographs, illustrations, letters, commentaries and other media which regularly populate these pages.
But in the late summer month directly ahead, I will be unable to ensure this function since I have been invited to participate and take a significant role in no less than three major international projects which are online for that period and which are simply too good to miss. Continue reading
Want to have a look at the new layout and type face for World Streets that we are experimenting with as part of our annual spring cleaning, and let us know us what you think? Our goal is to make it an easier and more efficient read, with a tighter format, better use of screen space, and with the key links and tools more visible and easily accessible. Do you have any views on this? And if so, please let us know with a single click below. Thank you. Continue reading
World Streets is a collaborative resource. And it is a challenge – a collaborative challenge. We are rethinking it from top to bottom, to improve its usefulness and ensure a solid financial base. Have a look and tell us what you advise. Continue reading
World Streets iwill on 1 May close down regular publication until we have managed to resolve our challenging financial situation. If you share our deeply felt goals concerning the up-hill push to sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, read on and consider how you could lend a hand. We need both near term and more solid longer term backing in order to be able to continue to make our contribution. And for this, your ideas and contacts can be of real help. If you like what we are doing with World Streets, let me ask you to read on. Continue reading
World Streets makes the claim that it is a truly international journal and world-wide collaborative effort. That’s an easy claim to make, but just to put some muscle on it here is a map showing the points of origin of the readers who have come in thus far this morning. A day much like any other. Continue reading
Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. We have to take a . . .
This is a personal call to those of you who have over the years participated in the rather numerous programs and working groups we have since 1988 carefully crafted and maintained in support of worldwide peer collaboration and exchange in our tough but important field: under the New Mobility Agenda, World Streets or one of its sister publications (see below), or who have of late plugged in to our pages on Facebook or Twitter. I feel pretty quite comfortable in doing this since you know what we are trying to do, and who better for me to turn to at a time of need. (And oh yes, for those who may not recall, that citation above was by Nobel Prize winner Professor Ernest Rutherford, on taking over the quite broke Cavendish Laboratory in 1919, in the wake of the First World War.) Continue reading
The most significant accomplishment over this last year has been that World Streets has somehow managed to continue publication on a weekly basis, and step by step to improve the journal and steadily build up our international readership and contributions. And all this really quite against the odds and with less than modicum of the necessary financial support. But good cause, high commitment and fair performance carry the day, with the result that each week anywhere from 700 to 2000 readers from more than fifty countries from all corners of the world come in to access the journal. Continue reading
The power of images. We need a lot more than walls of words, reports and books to turn the world toward sustainability. So to help our case we invite our readers to jump in and share with us striking “social space” graphics which illustrate the world’s streets and all that takes place thereon in many places and in many ways. And lo and behold, from time to time some very nice stuff pops up on the screen in our challenging 990 × 180 pixels pixels format . This morning for instance we had the luck to receive and to be able to share with you the splendid street scene you see above, showing an intersection of bus services right in the middle of the beautiful city of Lisbon. And all this thanks to our colleague Miguel Barroso from Lisbon. Continue reading
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.
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?
We invite our readers to write the words to the following “song”: 150 words max please, signed with your name, email, affiliation if any, city, country, and URL if you wish. You may either place your contribution just below clicking the COMMENTS link, or by email to email@example.com. At one point a selection of these comments will be sorted and integrated into a collaborative piece on this theme. Sorry, no other clues.
Population footprints: Barcelona vs. Atlanta
Editor’s note: 22 May 2010 I have been scolded by several of our number who make the point that the above “song without words” title/proposal is far from clear. So with apologies, let me try to put it right.
The idea is that the graphic strikingly demonstrates one of the most important, and close to intractable, challenges of the move from Old to New Mobility, the huge dispersion of populations and activity that has been caused by the totally unthought-out shift from city living to a car-based hyper-spread life style. I was hoping to elicit comments on that, which is, it must be admitted, something like the proverbial challenge of getting the toothpaste back into the tube. There are responses, of that I am entirely sure, but it is going to be a tough job. So now, hopefully, your comments and clues?
Kind thanks to Lois Sturm, New York City for the heads-up on the graphics. (And to Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy for the inspiration.)
# # #
Supplemental figure and food for thought:
1. Start here: Italy, Italian and New Mobility. In June 2009, after four months of successful publication and an enthusiastic public reception in many parts of the world, the World Streets team found ourselves talking with an Italian colleague, the environmental activist Enrico Bonfatti who had been scanning the readership maps of World Streets and in the process noted that there were only one or two regular readers of the publication in Italy. Why? Good question.
Might it be that there was no interest in the concept of better explanation?
2. Time and language:
We concluded that Italy was in many ways a typical case, and that while there is plenty of interest in many parts of the country in these matters, almost everyone is suffering from major information overload on the one hand — and furthermore that very very few of us, even those of us who know another language well, are all that comfortable if we have to read daily dispatches on these complex if interesting matters in anything other than our own main language.
Now that may come as a surprise to anyone who thinks that English is taking over as the universal language. But if you actually take the time to speak with and get to know the people who are working with these matters at the level of cities, agencies, public interest groups, or even universities in different parts of the world, you will see that when it comes to day-to-day communication all of us really do work best in our main language. (The reactions to this claim turn out to be quite interesting and are by no means unanimous. However we have found upon careful examination and discussion with those directly involved that the thesis stands up to inspection and is realistic and relevant. So we have not hesitated to make it a pillar of our work.)
3. 1 July 2010: Nuova Mobilità goes on line in Italy.
After careful consideration and diligent preparations over a two-month period, starting on 1 July and with Enrico Bonfatti stepping forward as managing editor of the new publication, we set out on an adventure to bring these concepts into the daily life of colleagues across Italy, with the publication written in careful Italian and adapted for the Italian institutional context and felt priorities.
Over the remainder of 2009 we saw readership expanding regularly and could see from the stats that the journal was being visited by individuals and groups in more and more cities up and down the peninsula. As of this date we are seeing something on the order of anywhere from 100 to 200 Italian readers checking in each day, and thus far have noted visits from more than 60 Italian cities and, somewhat surprisingly, roughly 2 dozen from other parts of the world.
What is especially striking about this map for those of you happen to be familiar with Italy, is that in addition to the expected heavy readership in the northern half of the country, we are also seeing real interest from the South. This is an excellent sign for the future.
And if you wish to practice your Italian, nothing could be more simple: all you have to do is click to www.nuovamobilita.org. And if your usually excellent Italian should fill you, no problem, you will see the machine translation tool on the top left of the site. Benvenuti nel futuro della mobilità sostenibile in Italia.
4. What about other language/country editions?
One lesson we have abundantly learned over the last year of hard work in creating and publishing daily this Italian Journal is that it is not a job to be undertaken lightly. Despite the fact that roughly 2/3 of all the articles that appear are adapted from the latest postings of World Streets, there is more to it than simply having the skills to produce a good translation. The articles need to be selected and adapted for Italian readers, in the Italian cities, institutional and policy context; –but in addition to that there is the entire challenge of creating specific Italian content, which is also a time-consuming mission and which continues to be a process that even after all these months still needs to be fully engaged.
As result, we have discovered that organizing and maintaining anything along the lines of Nuova Mobilità is pretty close to a full-time job for one talented, hard-working person. This of course has economic implications, with which our readers will be entirely familiar.
5. Bridging the language gap:
What to do in the event that there is still this challenge of finding a way to bridge the language gap, but in a first instance perhaps not taking on the full load and financial implications of creating a new dedicated publication? This is a problem which we are facing with several colleagues and concerned organizations in Sweden, Finland, Portugal, France and Taiwan — and here is the way in which we are collaborating to get the job done.
The key lies in the creation of a special monthly edition of World Streets which provides in the target language a careful synopsis and one click access to the full contents of all content and commentaries published in the daily journal over the preceding month. These monthly reports are specially created by the World Streets team, working closely with the collaborating national sponsors in order to ensure that the final product is not only accurately and quickly developed, but that it is presented in a form which is agreeable to read and easy to move beyond through one-click links to the full sources in each case.
* * * Here is an example of a typical World Streets Monthly Edition, in this case is prepared to summarize for our subscribers/sponsors all items appearing over the month of April 2010 – http://tinyurl.com/ws-apr2010. For a copy of the other language editions, get in touch and we will be pleased to share them with you.
6. The last kilometer challenge
The “last kilometer” or “last mile” is, of course, a term from the telecommunications and cable television industries involving the final leg of delivering connectivity from a communications provider (in this case World Streets) to an end-user (in this case you and your busy colleagues). Here it is specifically aimed at supporting and expanding the network of those agencies, local authorities, universities, operators, associations, consultants and concerned citizens working on these issues within their country or region.
The following diagram and notes are intended to give a picture of how this can be made to work.
Once the current monthly report has been prepared with our language partner, they are then dispatched to all of those in the host country who are concerned with these matters. This listing turns out to be quite extensive in all cases thus far encountered, and includes not only the key national ministries and agencies charged with matters of transport, environment, cities, economics, social justice and more, but also all those working on these challenges at the level of the specific city or local administration, researchers, transportation operators, university programs, consultants, public interest groups, concerned citizens, and the national media.
Our goal in each case is to create an outreach in which the map in each cooperating country will gradually grow and eventually come to resemble the same level of coverage which we are achieving in Italy.
7. Want to discuss a collaborative outreach project?
We will be pleased to provide further information on both approaches and invite interested readers to get in touch by phone, e-mail, snail mail, Skype or, best of all, this is the power so we can talk about all this in person. Here is a quick summary of our main contact information:
Eric Britton, Editor
World Streets/The New Mobility Partnerships
8, rue Jospeh Bara, 75006 Paris France
Tel. Europe – +331 7550 3788
USA +1 (213) 984 1277
We live in a time of not only ever greater problems and challenges before our sector but also one of fast evolving tools and other means of collaboration. each of the dozen-plus specialized fora and discussion areas that make up the New Mobility Agenda, and of course World Streets itself. We are obliged to work with the available free tools. Here is the latest addition to the lot – World Streets on Facebook.
In democratic countries knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others.
- A. de Tocqueville, 1835
World Streets on Facebook:
To some of you this may seem like a bit of a stretch, but after all it is 2010 and after all (again) we are losing and losing big the war of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives. We have some important messages to share among us, and here is where we really have to make use of every tool out there which might be put to work for our good cause.
Hence in this case — and why not? — Facebook. So just yesterday we set up our best first cut of a Facebook page for World Streets, which you can now see, join, comment and use at www.facebook.worldstreets.org.
Home page text:
World Streets: First Steps is intended to serve as an open door for the Facebook community to the issues and contents of World Streets, the 21st century daily newspaper that has a single job: to provide you with high quality, readable, concise, food for thought and leads specifically on the topics of sustainable mobility, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, world-wide.
* Click image to expand.
To access the site you have first to create a Facebook page, but as most of our readers know this is no big deal and can be set up quickly in a reserved, professional and secure manner. That done, once on line all you have to do is click to www.facebook.worldstreets.org and there you are on the home page.
In closing, let me be the first to indicate that I do not at all have a clear picture of how this Facebook interface is going to work out. But I would be a poor friend of sustainable development and social justice if we did not at least give it our best shot.
Tell us what you think, either here or on Facebook. This is after all a team enterprise.
Editor – firstname.lastname@example.org
We are aware that most of our busy readers do not have the time to check into World Streets on a daily basis. For that reason we make available to our subscribers and sponsors in addition to the daily edition, a monthly summary which brings together in one place all postings and comments in a manner in which the busy reader can scan the month’s titles in a few lines and make a decision as to whether or not to call up and read the full article. Time-efficient communication in an overload world.
If it is your firm belief that God is on our side (Gott mit uns) and that we are winning the battle of sustainable transport and sustainable lives, you will probably have little use for anything that might show up on a popular environmental site like TreeHugger. But hey! we are losing, so we need to be prepared to use every trick, talent and channel we can lay our hands on. Here is a piece that appeared in TreeHugger last week that will tell you, dear reader, nothing you do not already know — but it is the telling of it that is the point. Let me put that in other words: we have plenty to learn from them when it comes to getting our message across to the general public. And that includes thee . . . and me. Continue reading