This double blog reposting on this important topic is worthy of our readers’ attention on several grounds. Here at World Streets we are, after all, in a very real way in the transportation service innovations business, that being a key underpinning of the transition and the “politics of transport in cities”. We recommend you consult it in two passes: the first being to read below the full text of Dave King’s concise commentary that appeared yesterday, 26 June, in “Getting from here to there”. And from there you may wish to move on to the full piece of Steve Blank in the Berkeley blog – click here.
The time has now arrived for some serious plain talking and no holds-barred reflection on our societal obsession with speed, distance, mobility and all its negative and perverse consequences for quality of life, social justice, fiscal prudence and the environment. The “perfect storm” coincidence of a massive fiscal crisis, failure to produce carbon reductions large enough to deal with climate change, 3000 dead citizens each day as a result of contact with vehicles and a dawning of realisation that public health absolutely depends on sorting out transport all point in one direction. The direction is clear and the pointing has been clear in almost every one of the 300 articles published so far in this journal.
A recent article in the Bangkok Post – http://goo.gl/1suKB – summarizes twenty emergency indicators resulting from massive, devastating and unchecked air pollution in Asian cities. Their source was a report of the Health Effects Institute (HEI), a not-for-profit US research agency
Their not-so-short list reads as follows:
As your professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Society you would have thought that I might at least have sat you down at the beginning of the seminar and given you a clear understanding of that oft-repeated rarely-questioned phrase “sustainable development”.
This Nathalie Nomblot brought most embarrassingly to my attention yesterday when we were struggling to find a good topic for her make-up Quick Report, which I had usefully (!) suggested she might write on “sustainable development” and “something else” (her choice). To which she energetically wrote back: “In one sentence, could you please give me your definition of Sustainable Development? That would help!”
There I was in Paris last week, pretty much minding my own business ,which for the most part consisted of leading a last-semester international MBA class into the wilds of Sustainable Development, Economy and Society, and my eye fell on a little blue book in the reception area. The title, “Crises: La Solution des Villes” was close enough to the topics that occupy our attention here, that I opened it and started to read. And what I found in the very first chapter was a highly engaging account of how a certain number of European cities, who back in the sixties and seventies were in deep pain mainly as a result of the entirely unanticipated process of deindustrialization, decided to react and turn their desperate situations around. And in the process, separately and together, began to reinvent the paradigm of the 21st century city.