Late night thoughts on some of the creative thinkers who over the last five decades have, each in their own highly individual ways, entirely reshaped our views of a just, efficient and sustainable city.
Not to be too aggressive here, but if you, as a planner, decision-maker, activist or student, are not familiar with the thinking and accomplishments of a fair number of these champions of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, then you have some important homework to do before you can really dig in, understand and make a contribution. And in each case the Wikipedia profiles provide only a preliminary introduction to get you started, along with a first round of references to their work and contributions sufficient for you to start to understand their genius and contributions.
Let’s have a look at my personal shortlist of sustainability heroes, based entirel on A sample of people whom i have had the honor to know and work with. (You will no doubt have your on list, so please make it known and share them with firstname.lastname@example.org.).
Additional details and references to follow in due course. For this first phase and to get the ball rolling, initial references mainly from WP.
Rob Adams (Australia) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Adams_(architect)
Donald Appleyard (USA) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Appleyard
S.K. Jason Chang (Taiwan/China) – http://www.tw-ita.org/about/academic/696
Bertrand Delanoë -(France) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Delano%C3%AB
Jan Gehl (Denmark) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Gehl
Ivan Illich ( Croatian/Austria/Mexico) htps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivan_Illich
Jane Jacobs (USA/Canada) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Jacobs
Jaime Lerner (Brazil) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaime_Lerner
Ken Livingstone (UK) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Livingstone
Clover Moore (Australia) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clover_Moore
Carlos Felipe Pardo -(Colombia) – http://www.urbanet.info/interview-carlos-pardo/
Enrique Peñalosa (Colombia) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrique_Pe%C3%B1alosa
Lee Myung-bak (South Korea) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Myung-bak
Peter Newman (Australia) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Newman_(environmental_scientist)
Michael Replogle (USA) – @MichaelReplogle
Jens Roerbeck (Denmark) – https://goo.gl/xytPJg
Janette Sadik-Kahn (USA)- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janette_Sadik-Khan
Luud Schimmelpennink (The Netherlands) – – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luud_Schimmelpennink
Susan Shaheen (USA) – http://tsrc.berkeley.edu/SusanShaheen
Donald Shoup (USA) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Shoup
John Whitelegg (UK) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Whitelegg
William Hollingsworth “Holly” Whyte (USA) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Whyte
William Vickrey (Canada/USA) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Vickrey
Hans-Jochen Vogel (Germany) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans-Jochen_Vogel
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And what if anything do they have in common that a young person aspiring for a better world, perhaps like you, may wish to know more about. Since I have had the huge honor to know personally, work with and learn from most of them over the last decades, let me share some of my thoughts with you.
Each person on this short list is an open, independent thinker, technically solid, tenacious, always ready to learn, modest, ready to deal with the democratic process, and, let me say this, a genius (which of course helps). In all cases they have run against the wind of all thinking and resistance to new ideas, and never complained.
William Vickrey, to chose but one example, always despaired that his seminal work on road pricing and more generally the pricing of scarce resources, had not make a dent in public policy. He was wrong. Professor William Vickrey of the Graduate Faculties of Economics of Columbia University was awarded the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with James Mirrlees for their research into the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information, And his contribution to expand our thinking about the power of economics got right in a just an efficient society has now entered into our culture to the extent that we almost always forget why we think in that way. Such being the nature of culture.
Let me leave you with four words that come to my mind as I consider them and their society-transforming contributions. They are, each of them, visionaries, scientists, heroes and poets.
PS. In due course the author would hope to provide brief profiles introducing each of these extraordinary people and their contributions, along with an additional carefully chosen reference or two to round out the introduction.)
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About the author:
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France
Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at https://goo.gl/9CJXTh and @ericbritton