The goal of this section of the S/P supporting websites is to provide easy access to anyone from within Penang or beyond in order to get a clear understanding of what is going on in the at-times painful path of contradictory and withheld information on the topic of how best to go about creating a sustainable, efficient and equitable mobility system for all in Penang. It works like this.
One of the reasons why such a small proportion of the world cities are working on having more sustainable transportation systems has to do with the fact that these are literally “complex systems”, a category of social and economic interactions which is far more complicated than laying down additional meters of concrete.
A complex system is filled with nuances and surprises, as a result of the fact that all of the bits and pieces that constitute them interact with each other, and all too often yields contradictory results which are quite opposite from what the initial practitiones or policymakers may have wished to bring about. The classic example of this is of course the discredited “predict and provide” approach to transport which famously creates a mindset which consistently favors more traffic. So even with all of the goodwill and hope in the world, many of these policies or approaches achieve results which are contrary to the initial expectations and often deleterious.
Last Minute News from Penang – 13 July 2016. 10:00 local time:
1. Penang Forum today launched : Better, Cheaper, Faster Penang Transport Master Plan
2. Start with the sharp (hilarious) 2 minute introduction : https://youtu.be/6B9o1baUaP8
3. Now World Streets reader please sign petition at www.bettercheaperfaster.my/votebcf
In the coming weeks we are going to be presenting here coverage of a highly interesting public discussion of differences of perspectives, values and finally of interests, which have at its core the same concerns of World Streets and our readers: namely the challenges of sustainable development, sustainable transportation and the context of the politics of transport in cities.
But let’s not try to get into the interesting details and ongoing work in this first editorial; instead let’s see if we can present a quick canned history of this small South East Asian city that is facing some hard choices that are important for the immediate future but also for the long term. There is a lot of passion surrounding these issues and differences, so in this we shall do our best to maintain what our friends over at Wikipedia so deftly call, NPOV – a neutral point of view.
* We asked 100 international experts for their views. 101 have responded.
Professor Elizabeth Deakin wrote…
I am a regular reader of World Streets. I also pass along articles from the website to my graduate students.
The work is of high quality and it puts us in touch with other researchers and practitioners in the field of sustainable development and transport.
It provides a much-needed service and cuts through the media overload to the essentials.
And in 2016, seven years after the appearance of its first edition in spring 2009, it’s as needed as ever.
Elizabeth Deakin, Berkeley CA USA
Professor Emerita of city & regional planning and urban design
College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley
First co-director of UC Berkeley Global Metropolitan Studies Initiative and first Director of the University of California Transportation Research Center