During the early nineteen sixties the famed development economist, Albert Hirschman negotiated with the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development, part of the World Bank group, the financial support that he needed for an extended visit to several WB development projects scattered throughout the poor areas of the world. The document where he reports his visit was the matter of much controversy between the IBRD staff and Hirschman. One of the major points of disagreement was the latter´s refusal to employ the technique of cost-benefit analysis, then very popular at the WB, as a measure of the success of a project.
Professor John Adams has spent quite some years in researching, thinking, talking and writing about risk, and about risk when it comes to how people get around in their daily lives. This posting is taken from his blog “Risk in a hypermobile world” His attraction to transport problems grew out of his involvement in the 1970s and 80s as an objector at public inquiries, on behalf of Friends of the Earth, to the British Government’s road building plans. See “Hypermobility: too much of a good thing” for a summary of his current take on transport problems.
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.
When one introduces shared taxis one has to guard against the danger that they take people off buses and trains (or off their feet or bikes) rather than off cars. If so they will actually increase the number of motor vehicles, and furthermore unless the system is transparent and available to casual users (i.e. one doesn’t have to live in the area, belong to a club, or book ages in advance) they may prevent the development of genuinely comprehensive mobility systems.”
Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director of the Centre for Science and Environment in New Delhi, in a wide-ranging conversation with Faizal Khan reporting for the excellent Walkability Asia ( Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities), spells out clearly the inevitability of a non-motorised transport code in India through shocking figures and revealing facts. “We need zero tolerance policy for accidents. This menu of action needs support. Our right to walk is not negotiable.” And on this Roychowdhury is entirely right. On this score we must be entirely intransigent and as part of this to keep pounding away on this important point of citizen activism on every available occasion, until we get the concept of zero tolerance written into the law and respected on the streets. All our streets! Continue reading
Every once in a while an article pops in over the transom, as happened this morning, that provides us with a good, independent checklist of the woes and, if not the solutions, at least the directions in which solutions might usefully be sought to our transportation related tribulations. And this carefully crafted piece by Danish architect Henrik Valeur is a good case in point. His independent out of the box perspective leads him to making comments links and pointing out relationships which take him well beyond the usual transportation purview. And if his immediate source of comment in this article is the awful, the quite unnecesssary situation on the streets of India’s cities, the points he makes have universal application. Healthy stuff for planners and policy makers. Let’s have a look.
The objective here is to combine vision, policy, technology and entrepreneurial skills in such a way to create and make available to all a combined, affordable, multi-level, convenient, high choice mobility system which for just about everybody should be more efficient than owning and driving a car in or into town. Let us start with this as our goal and then see what is the work that must be done in order to turn it into a reality.
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 . . .
This is an unusual editorial. It is entirely concerned with one book published in 2012 called “The Human Quest”
To say this book is important is an understatement. It is hugely important because it shows that the current trajectory of the human species on this planet is on automatic pilot with the self-destruct option initiated. This may sound rather dramatic but the book is based on a very traditional scientific analysis and a strong evidence based logic rooted in the best scientific tradition and especially Swedish scientific traditions. It is a solid, objective, scientific analysis.
Originally posted on Network Dispatches:
WPD – Pedestrian overpass in Manila Philippines
(From the World Streets Worst Practices Department)
Dear Eric: This is a great idea, thanks for hosting the “worst practices” page. It would be great to develop this to the point that it actually embarrasses people to take action on some of these worst-case practices.
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The latest news about increasing support of women in leadership positions in transport just in this morning from Hong Kong.
World Streets is firmly behind the movement to bring more women at all levels of society and in all countries into the heart of the process of understanding, planning and implementing fair mobility for all. Since 1973 the editor has been actively engaged in the movement to increase the role of women in the highest levels of leadership in public, private sectors and into the volunteer and NGO movement. At times this has been a lonely vigil, but as the French poet Louis Aragon told us some two generations ago: “La femme est l’avenir de l’homme” (Woman is the future of man). If you believe that, it makes you very hard to stop. Continue reading
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
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:
Three years ago the Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT) was established to address the relative absence of sustainable transport in the global discussions on sustainable development and climate change. Rapid motorization in the developing world and its negative impacts motivated the organizations that came together in SLoCaT. There was agreement that SLoCaT should initially have a mandate for three years only and that by the end of 2012 a decision would be made whether to call it a day or to go on, possibly, with a revised mission. Those three years have gone by. So where is SLoCaT now and what is next; declare victory and move on, admit defeat and move on, or stay in the fight? Continue reading
Behind the Rape in the Bus
Over at India Streets today – http://www.facebook.com/IndiaStreets – the distinguished Indian journalist and writer, Vidyadhar Date, posts an article entitled “Rosa Parks, The Power of Resistance and the Rape In The Bus In Delhi”. He makes a point which I believe is central to understanding a great part of both (a) the what and (b) the why of this tragic event in Delhi, when he writes: Continue reading
This paper published in 2004 by professor Ana Maria Bianchi of the Faculty of Economics of the University of São Paulo offers more in this series on the work and considerable contributions of the great economist and social scientist Albert Hirschman who died on Monday of this week in Princeton New Jersey. (Also see the earlier homage that appeared here “Earth, receive an honoured guest. In Memory of Albert O. Hirschman” at http://wp.me/psKUY-2DJ )
Sujaya Rathi reports from Bangalore:
Private vehicles in India have seen an unprecedented growth in past two decades and there is no sign of slowing down. Many initiatives to curb the trend have not been successful. This article highlights an important aspect that attribute to the above unsustainable phenomenon, which has been ignored: “The Derelict Mile”.
Op-Ed: Awful Injustice in Parking
Misguided parking policy is harmful and unjust.
No surprise there, you may say. There is no shortage of complaints about parking prices (“unfair!”) and about how difficult it is to find parking. We hear the same thing all over the world, whether in Sydney, San Francisco, Singapore, Moscow, Delhi , Jakarta, Beijing, Sao Paolo, Lagos or Nairobi.
Sorry to be unsympathetic. But complaints like those are a problem. They are fuel for the never-ending push for more parking and cheaper parking.
So what? Continue reading