Putting World Streets to work (Opening Day 2008 perspectives)

The editor, Paris, 30 March 2008:

If this is your first visit to World Streets, you may find it useful to check out the following to get a feel for how this is supposed to work.

Heavy traffic on the way to sustainable cities and sustainable lives. . .

The Planet’s Sustainable Transport Newspaper.
Welcome in an information-overload age to World Streets: the 21st century weekly newspaper that has a single job: to provide our world-wide readers with high quality, readable, concise information, food for thought, surprises and leads specifically on the topics of sustainable mobility, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, world-wide.

World Streets is an independent, internet-based collaborative knowledge system specifically aimed at informing policy and practice in the field of sustainable transportation, and as part of that sustainable cities and sustainable lives. We want to make sure that World Streets is a good read, and a fast one, for our overloaded colleagues working on these issues in cities and countries around the world, as well for others trying to follow the full range of issues involved.

Navigating the menus

The top and right menus hold the key to easy use of the platform. The top menu should be self-explanatory, while on the right as a first time visitor we suggest  you take a few minutes to work your way down

  • Hot Projects
  • Supporting Media
  • Watching Briefs/Lenses

And from then on it pretty much explains itself.

Search functions:

To search the archives of the thousand or so articles that have been filed between these covers over the last two years, please see just over to your right quite a handy battery of five one-click search tools to help you do just that. Let’s have a quick look in the order in which you can see them here:

  1. The calendar function allows the readers to check out the posting for any day since start-up on 31 March 2008
  2. You can search the monthly archives with a single click that calls up all the articles posted in that month. Each is described in a few lines, clickable to the full piece.
  3. Searching by categories can be handy too.
  4. You can also search the full W/S archives with a focused Google search.
  5. The final (combined) search engine ponts to the more than two hundred sources to which W/S is at present linked. You will see the full listing of these carefully selected programs and sources in the bottom left resource column.

For introductory background on the volunteer team behind the journal: – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/the-journal/editorial-team/

Finally, please note that in addition to the content of the journal, you will also find here a considerable battery of tools for researchers, students, the media and others who wish to dig deeper, not only into the content of the journal but also the very large number of programs and sources to whom we are connected. For more on that we invite you go to the Resource section here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/the-resource-base/ .

The Equity Agenda

This is the main thrust of our work at World Streets. We take as the starting point for public policy and investments not so much the dominant twentieth century values of speed (ever faster), distance (ever farther) and indifference (ever more) but 21st-century values of equity, frugality (this is not a negative word), social justice and deep democracy?  And that of course is what this project is all about.

One of the key pillars behind this program is a belief that, properly engaged, the move to equity-based transportation can lead to greater efficiency and economy both for specific groups and individuals, and also for the city and its region as a whole. That it is to say that it is going to be a step up, not a step down!

If we redraw the system to make it better for women of all ages and life condition, it will be better for men as well. Better for the frail and elderly, then better for the rest as well.  Better and safer for children, then better and safer for all. Better for the poor, then well, believe it or not, better for the rich as well.

At the end of the day, once you understand and accept the basic principle of equity a huge number of other good things follow: quality of life for all, resource and energy efficiency, financial integrity, new targets for entrepreneurship, technology and innovation,  local environmental and planetary climate impacts, social peace and solidarity.   The present we want for ourselves, our families and neighbors. The future that we want for our children and grandchildren and future generations.

Civil society

The Third Force, civil society, is the true test of democracy: the strong voice and active presence of ever-vigilant participatory citizenry. Society’s necessary check, balance, and vital complement to political parties, elections and fixed terms in office. The underlying and defining reality is that civil society is, by its very nature in more or less permanent ten, or at least dissonance, with elected governments and administrations: Different attention span. Different values. Different rewards.

Activist groups, NGOs, environmentalists, concerned parents, educationalists, independent researchers, investigative reporters, bloggers, social media, and sentinels of democracy . . . provide a lively check on narrow interest and bad government. An invaluable, visible, vocal partner of the public interest and good government. Deep democracy.

Shared space:

We decided back in late 2008 to create up a wide-open world-wide public shared space on the web for friends and colleagues around the world working at the leading edge on these challenges, giving them a congenial platform to develop and share the best of their experience, ideas, strategies, materials, reflections, stories, tools, images, evidence about better (and worse, since we can learn from them too) ways of making use of what Jan Gehl calls “The space between buildings”.

From the beginning, we were interested in challenging main line thinking (or lack thereof) that in most places constitutes, for better or worse, the principal backdrop to policy decisions and investments in the sector. And in all this we were not trying to come up with and sell to all comers some sort of “unified theory of sustainable transport” — but rather to encourage greater variety of thought, more vigorous debate and efficient exchanges, on the grounds that the best ideas, once sufficiently well stated and backed by real world proof, will be the ones that win out.

Our ultimate goal in this was simple enough: we wanted to do our bit to create and support a new majority and in the process redefine the politics and practice of transport in cities around the world.”

Four functions:

World Streets is part of a larger program with four main functions and objectives:

  1.  It is a specialized “weekly” journal.
  2.  An open collaborative international network.
  3.  An in-depth international resource.  And finally   . . .
  4.  An active lobby for sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, supporting projects and programs all over the world.

You can see more on this by clicking here for a fast-read presentation of the program’s high points – World Streets in brief.

World Streets adds new dimensions to the New Mobility Agenda, offering an extended forum for contributions, challenges and comments reaching beyond the dozen-plus focus group expert fora of the main New Mobility programs (www.program.newmobility.org).  Content is regularly provided on a volunteer basis by more than one thousand colleagues actively working on these issues with whom we have taken contact, swapped ideas, and in many ways collaborated since the outset of the New Mobility Agenda in 1988. (With so much spread out activity in so many areas, we figured out that all of us involved needed one place to go for the cream of the crop – and that is World Streets.)

Like all parts of the New Mobility Agenda, Streets has a definite ethical and strategic approach to the issues we address.  Some may find us rigid and often quite uncompromising. And so it have to be.   You will find more on that here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/about/mission/.

Questions? Suggestions?  Pointers? Click here to the Contact information. We answer our mail.

# # #

About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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