The World Streets Sampler: 2009-2015

ws-newsstand-captionAdmittedly it may not be so easy to get a feel for what World Streets is supposed to be all about when you first check in here, since we have since 2009 published more than 1500 articles and twice that many graphics, photographs and illustrative short videos on a very large array of issues, approaches, countries and cultures.. So to open up this virtual Pandora’s box for first time readers we decided to cull about one percent of the contents to see if we could come up with a selection of diverse articles, most of them quite short, to try to give the first time reader an idea of the variety and quality of what goes on here. We call this a “Sampler” and invite your comments, suggestions and eventual contributions to what is, above all, an open, collaborative and convergent environment.

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Welcome to World Streets Worst Practices Department

man sleeping under sidewalk - top half only

Since our founding in 2009 World Streets has given attention occasionally to poor, and at times desperately poor, policies and practices in the fields of cities and transportation, in what we call our Worst Practices Department. The WPD has its useful place in World Streets and the world more generally because when it comes to transportation there has never been a shortage of bad ideas and even worse implementations.

Most of the bad ideas you will see skewered in this section are the results of some variable combinations of hubris, avarice, haste, short-sightedness, self-interest, pure ego, and invariably sheer ignorance of the complexity of the 21st century mobility environment.  And of course all too often of sheer unbridled  stupidity. (And so it goes.)

“Not by wrath, but by laughter, do we slay.”

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Why sustainable development is so hard, when it should be as “simple as riding a bike”?

UNLEARNING as a sustainability strategy?

What does not being able to ride a bike have to do with sustainable development?  Or rather of course UNsustainable development, which is the dominant and to now apparently unbreakable pattern? Thousands of conferences have been organized, more thousands of books printed,programs launched,  actions organized, treaties signed, promises made (and broken), and despite all that and by just about all valid indicators, the bottom line of our unsustainability continues tragically to deteriorate, to destroy our gasping planet. As you can see here:

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Interview: World Streets editor interviews busy mayor on his sustainable transport strategy

Asking the mayor of Freedonia to walk the talk

groucho at deskFreedonia City Hall, 20 June 2015.09:00. The mayor is comfortably seated  at his  imposing desk, looking fondly at an unlit cigar.  After a lengthy wait and a nod from the imposing receptionist, the editor of World Streets knocks lightly and waits timidly at the door, entirely drenched and  more than a bit disheveled. Not a pretty sight.

The Mayor: Well sir, you are a fine mess. Careful there, you are dripping on my favorite chair. Continue reading

Commentary: Bike Share Dreams, Programs and Strategies for Penang

Penang. May 18, 2015. The Star Online – http://www.thestar.com.my/

Penang Bike Share project postponed due to slow take-up rate

Opening text:

velib-guy-l-rThe island’s target of being the first state to have a bicycle sharing system or rent a bike has hit a speed bump.

The company which won a Penang Island City Council (MBPP) tender to create the system has postponed the launch of the project, which was supposed to roll out this month.

Public Bike Share Sdn Bhd chief executive officer and founder Hubert Fong said he was concerned that the take-up rate for bike commuting among Penangites was too slow for the system to be in demand.

“We need more people to be willing to use bicycles for commuting. Although we see more people getting on board, the numbers are growing too slowly,” he said.

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Energy and Transportation, 2015-2020: A Different Perspective

France IFP Schoool class

Working notes for June 5th Master Class presentation to the IFPEN-School Paris

Summary: The thesis of this presentation is (a) that the combinations of technologies, operations and institutional arrangements which today define the transport sector are so grossly inefficient, inappropriate and so thoroughly locked into the system, that only a major paradigm change will be capable of shaking them up.  Our unexpected good luck is (b) that such a tectonic pattern change is currently in full swing.  However, as often happens, they are not broadly spotted or understood.  And (c) this opens up an unexpected and most welcome opportunity.

There can be no doubt that (d) our uppermost public policy target today has to be the planetary emergency (global warming, resource depletion and species extinctions).  Tragically (e) the reality of present practices is that this message has still to get through. Under these circumstances the imperative first step is to become aware of it and then to seek its implications, which is in fact the goal of this presentation.

In the case of our sector, (f) the critical link between transport and climate is energy, and this from two strategic perspectives. First (g) the enormous and as yet largely untapped potential for major near-term advances, at relatively low cost.  Even more decisive is the enormous near-term potential of the transition from fossil fuels to renewables in the transport sector.  This is the lifeline of the future of our planet, no less.  And the message should be taken to the December UN COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris.

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