The goal of this year’s Sustainable Penang Autumn project is to use the dialogues and other contacts in order to define a series of at least ten “transformative actions” that can be planned and carried out over the fifteen months following this first program. With an eye to then reviewing progress action by action in a second event to take place in Penang in the opening months of 2015. A sort of open progress report and collaborative reflection for next steps.
We have no money gentlemen, so we shall have to think.
– Ernest Rutherford, on taking over Cavendish Laboratory in 1919
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Do you have the feeling that your street could be a lot better if it were designed for people and safe mobility instead of primarily for moving and parked cars? Suppose the entire width of the street, sidewalks, gutters and provision for parked and moving vehicles is, say, xx meters. And if you wanted to see what it could look like if there were more provision for safe walking, cycling, street furniture, trees and greenery, transit shelters, priority public transport, lane dividers, turn lanes, and yes, parked and moving vehicles, then have a look at Streetmix (the Website Where You Can Design Your Own Street in Penang).
In brief: Sustainable Penang 2013 is a two-week long wide-open program of public meetings, symposia, lectures, Master Classes, workshops and supporting public events with the goal of creating a stronger base of local support in favor of a more sustainable transport system to better serve the people of George Town and Penang . The program is hosted by THINK CITY and numerous local partners, in cooperation with New Mobility Consult.
One of the principle objectives of the Sustainable Penang 2013/New Mobility project is to seek out examples where leading cities in other parts of the world have taken the initiative explicitly to move from a car-dominated, basically no-choice transportation model (“Old Mobility”) to a better mix of mobility options and more choices for everybody, what we call the New Mobility Agenda.
In this report from Anna Holligan in yesterday’s BBC News we have in a few pages some of the shaping elements of the story about why cycling has become such an important transportation option in Dutch cities and outlying areas. Penang could not only learn a great deal from better understanding the Dutch bike model, but also have in hand both the information and guidelines on how to adapt this approach to George Town and others towns and cities in Penang. That information is available, and a good place to start might be the Dutch Cycling Embassy at http://http://www.dutchcycling.nl/. But there are many others.
One day, a long time ago and in a faraway place, or so the legend goes, there was a huge forest fire that was raging the countryside. All the animals were terrified, running around in circles, screaming, crying and helplessly watching the impending disaster.
But there in the middle of the flames, and above the cowering animals, was a tiny hummingbird busy flying from a small pond to the fire, each time fetching a few drops with its beak to throw on the flames. And then again And then again.
After a while, an old grouchy armadillo, annoyed by this ridiculous useless agitation on the part of the hummingbird, cried out: “Tiny bird! Don’t be a fool. It is not with those miniscule drops of water one after the other that you are going to put out the fire and save us all! ”
To which the hummingbird replied, “Could be, but I’m going to do my bit”.