Dead End in Brazil? Interview with O Globo Brazil.

In the day before the opening of the World Cup in Brazil, where traffic chaos is expected to be the rule of the day (missed opportunities there?) this is a video transcript of a 20 November 2013 interview with Bolivar Torres, Brazil Sao Paulo Traffic congestionBrazilian journalist with O Globo, a leading Brazilian newspaper.  His topic: Notably unsustainable transportation and trends in Brazilian cities — seen from an international perspective. What to do? How to move from today’s failing and inconsistent ad hoc Old Mobility policies which are not getting at the roots of the problems? Perhaps toward a New Mobility Agenda?  And what if anything could have been introduced in time to improve traffic and life quality conditions for all during the coming World Cup and Olympics?

* See corrective note on photo below.

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Media: “Penang’s transport system inefficient, says expert”

The following article appeared Malaysiakini, the most read independent news website offering daily news and views in English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil. Reproduced here in its entirety, it is  can be consulted directly from the source at http://beta.malaysiakini.com/news/251763. The reader may find some interest in the diversity of views expressed in the Comments which also are reproduced here.

maylasie traffic jam from Malaysia

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Laying the Base for Public Bicycle Sharing in Penang

As we are seeing in these pages Penang in general and Georgetown in particular Penang bike graffitiare giving serious attention to the possibility of creating a public bicycle system for the city. As a first step they have issued a Request for Proposals which is shortly to come online. This is a great thing because there are many reasons to create conditions for safe and agreeable cycling on city streets across the state.

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Changing Mindsets: Mine, Thine and Theirs

The mind. . . yours, mine, theirs. This is the hardest challenge of all, and one that is right at the core of our Sustainable Penang/New Mobility Agenda city towers jan gehl - smalltransformation project for 2014 and beyond.  Fortunately we are not the only ones since it is the age-old habit of man to lock blindly into old ideas — and particularly all those  old ideas which are so omnipresent and unquestioned by all who surround us that they finally become invisible. How can we change something if we cannot see it? But let’s hear what our old and great friend Jan Gehl has to say about this in a lecture which he gave recently to the annual conference of the European Foundation Centre on “Sustainable Cities: Foundations and our Urban Future” in Copenhagen.

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Jan Gehl is a practicing Urban Design Consultant and Professor of Urban Design jan gehlat the School of Architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has extensively researched the form and use of public spaces and put his findings to practice in a variety of locations around the world.  His company, Gehl Architects — Urban Quality Consultants, focus strongly on the facilitation of public life in public spaces, often pushing the boundaries beyond common uses of the public realm. To Gehl, design always begins with an analysis of the spaces between buildings. Only after a vision has been established of what type of public life one wants to see flourishing, is attention given to the surrounding buildings and how they can work together to support public spaces.

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about the editor- 10dec13- taupe

Author at work

eb-cafe-lighterIf you would like to have an advanced  taste for some of the content, approach  and the general voice of the book, you may want to consider clicking to  http://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/equity-book which calls up a selection of articles and comments which are now in process for the final. Please understand that at this point most of these pieces are still  incomplete working drafts, and not surprisingly they are of uneven quality up to now. That is part of the challenge.

In the meantime, you may note when you call them up they are presented to you simply with the latest postings on top. Which of course is not the order in which they are being treated in the book now in process. Still, they should give you a good feel for where we are going with this, we think important, book.

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Poynton Regenerated: A transformative Shared Space project

The regeneration of Poynton Town Centre and its high street, Park Lane, involved a bold approach to the busy traffic intersection in Fountain Place. Martin Cassini’s short film documents the background to the project, and the dramatic changes in the fortunes of Poynton, and explores the implications for other towns and cities struggling to cope with the impact of traffic.

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Homo Urbanus

man sleeping under sidewalk - top half only

Photographer unknown but picture relayed by Micha Walter, who writes (in German, of which  this is the Google translation):

“Homo urbanus” is the latest scientific findings. forerunner of modern “homo economicus”, considered the most radical species of hominid

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Did someone say, White Chairs?

amsterdam white chairsDuring Rotterdam’s public art festival Wereld van Witte de With, urbanism office M.E.S.T. reanimated this idea. But instead of bikes, the designers left 350 white chairs in public space in Rotterdam. The chairs served as a terrace for all the decentralized performances, and fed a discussion about public space and ownership at the same time. People were allowed to use the white chairs freely and to take them to any other location as long as they remained part of public space. The white chairs were slowly spread across the city. According to the festival organization, they were even spotted at the Central Station of Leiden, a town somewhere between Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Continue reading

Did someone say, White Chairs?

Behind the Rape in the Bus

Over at India Streets today – http://www.facebook.com/IndiaStreets – the india bus crowdingdistinguished 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

Behind the Rape in the Bus

2013 Book announcement: NO (MORE) EXCUSES

Memorandum:  First background on book in process to appear end-2013.

 No ExcuseS, Sir! 

(A tale of cities, indolence, complexity and finally . . .   simplicity)

Introduction: No Excuses is a book  in progress by Eric Britton about cities and people, and how we get around in our day-to-day lives.  It is about the failure of a generation — but also how with a little imagination and a lot of willpower we can do it better on all scores, and in a way that is fairer for all.

uk-bus-queue-no excusesIf we say it is about cities and not transport, it is because the focus is not on the usual  transport infrastructure, technology or big investments of hard-earned taxpayer money. That is the old way of looking at it, the mindset that effectively dominated transport policy and practice in the 20th century and which is just starting  to lose its hold today.  Good things are happening but still in far too few places. These are the places and projects, and the people and strategies, that No Excuses is all about. Continue reading

NEW MOBILITY AGENDA/GETTING AROUND

WEB, BLOGS & SUPPORTING SOCIAL MEDIA

When it comes to the multiplicity of internet sites and media that together make up the at-times somewhat labyrinthine New Mobility Agenda, there is a certain if not always immediately app[rent underlying logic in our gameplan.  Here in summary how things look today in the hope that it will help you make better use of the considerable potential of these tools. in your work. Continue reading

World Streets on Facebook (Check it out)

Why consider joining one or more of these focus groups on Facebook?  Well, because for better of worse social media are here to stay, and warts and all Facebook definitely has its uses — as we are showing with these fora.  So put aside your reservations and at least check in and have a look for yourself. (And if you don’t want to sign in as an identifiable human being, this is no problem. Sign in as your dog (even if you don’t have one) and no one will be the wiser for it.)

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Weekend musing: Lewis Mumford on the city, in 1963. (Le plus ça change)

This is not the first time anyone addressed these themes.  In the City in History, a classic text of urban design. Mumford urged in 1963 that technology achieves a balance with nature and hoped for a rediscovery of urban principles that emphasised humanity’s organic relationship to its environment. Forty-five years on, the film clips look incredibly old and the message delivered in a rather morbid and factious manner (to quote Jane Jacobs), with a slightly ‘Outer Limits’ or ‘Twilight Zone’ ambience. Yet some of the key ideas promoted by Mumford have increasing resonance with the sustainability and green agenda of the early 21st century. In the increasingly praxis orientated and commodified world of urban design, whether anyone is listening or not is another matter.

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Weekend leisure: Bollywood Bicycle Boogie’s back

Take a break. It’s the weekend. And even if you have seen some of these before, let’s invite you to take your head out of that fat report and come with Navdeep Asija and me to the movies in India, the Bollywood Bicycle Boogie. The idea behind World Streets has from the beginning been to seek out and share universal lessons, from specific times and different places but which, with a bit of thought, can open up our eyes, ears and hearts to many things, including with a bit of luck to ourselves and our own limitations and quirks. For this Sunday’s musing Navdeep brought us a packet of Bollywood films for your weekend viewing pleasure. Let me turn over the word to Navdeep so that he can explain it for himself: Continue reading

Groningen: The quiet example

What? You know all about transport in cities and you have never heard of Groningen? Well, check out this : an unexpected street interview in Groningen, a slice of life as filmed by our old friend and transport innovating colleague Robert Stussi. He has titled it: “A Homage to Hans Monderman”. Hear, hear! 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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Honk! Getting off the ox (when it comes to cars and cities).

There is a bit of ancient Hindu  wisdom that goes, roughly: How can a man riding an ox and looking for an ox, ever find the ox.  The answer being of course, only when he gets off the ox. Thus it is in life, but for many of us it is somewhere between hard and impossible to ever get off the ox of our perceptions and set values. But there are, thankfully, creative people who can do this.

Here by way of a quick warm-up is one quick demonstration of this off-the-ox approach from the lively mind of Jean Tinguely of his Cyclograveur, in short a bicycle that, as you pant and pedal, paints beautiful (?!?) pictures. And now t for your weekend reading pleasure let’s have a look at what our friends over at Streetsblog have just reported on another more timely off-the-ox transportation project, this time by the ever-ingenious Chris Burden with his post-Tinguely road-wrapping machine, Metropolis II.  Off we go. Continue reading