‘WE’RE DOOMED’ . . . Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention

China Mekong Basin desertification AFP Huang Dinh Nab Le Monde

Let’s see what Dr. Mayer Hillman —  eminent architect, town planner and Senior Fellow Emeritus since 1992 at the Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster where he worked for at least thirty years —   had to offer in an interview that appeared in The Guardian last week.  By Patrick Barkham   Full text with illustrations  at https://bit.ly/2FjpEbI

W’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman with such a  beaming smile that it takes a moment for the words to sink in. “The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.”

Hillman, an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, does say so. His bleak forecast of the consequence of runaway climate change, he says without fanfare, is his “last will and testament”. His last intervention in public life. “I’m not going to write anymore because there’s nothing more that can be said,” he says when I first hear him speak to a stunned audience at the University of East Anglia late last year.

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A COMPENDIUM OF ONE HUNDRED BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER MEASURES YOUR CITY COULD START TO IMPLEMENT TOMORROW MORNING TO SAVE THE PLANET . . . cut GHG emissions, get people to work on time, reduce traffic accidents, save lives, clear the air, improve health, create a sense of community, strengthen the economy, and improve accessibility, mobility and quality of life for all.

FB eric escooter traffic eifel towerWe often hear that transportation reform  is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city  And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.

To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all.  These approaches are not just “nice ideas”.  They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.

(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)

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ON THE OCCASION OF AN NTH BIRTHDAY: A FEW WORDS WITH MY FRIENDS ON CLIMATE, LEARNING BY DOING, & COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING

Climate emisssions mobility rapid cuts = The Guardian 5 Dec 2018

The power of a new mobility concept depends not on how well it solves a given, targeted problem. But on how many problems it (partly) solves. –   Marco Te Brömmelstroet

 ON THE OCCASION OF MY BIRTHDAY, A FEW WORDS WITH MY FRIENDS

  • Eric Britton,Convener, World Streets Climate Initiative, Paris. 27 June 2019

Dear friends, colleagues, planners, policy makers, students, professors, people working with local government, engineers, accountants, and above all those of you as active citizens and participants in civil society, whom I have met, not met, collaborated, swapped ideas with, argued, modifying my position and then arguing some more . . . Because as you and I know well, nothing ever stays fixed and final in the world of transport and mobility.

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EMERGING MOBILITY SERVICES: A WORKING TOPOGRAPHY

Five Percent 5% cover page top guy circles - wider

A team from the Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation (rCITI) School of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, Australia Emerging Mobility Services offers their own definitions, which includes, but is not limited to, the following topics: *

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A “BETTER THAN CAR” MOBILITY SYSTEM

car free day driver stopped

Nobody in a democratic 21st century country is going to willingly  step down on the scale of comfort and economy. Fair enough, so let’s see how we can all step UP in terms of  life quality for all  with an cost-competitive, equity-based low-emissions  transport strategy.

The objective here is to combine vision, policy, technology and entrepreneurial skills in such a way to create and make available to all a combined, affordable, multi-level, convenient, high choice  mobility system which for just about everybody should be more efficient than owning and driving a car in or into town.  Let us start with this as our goal and then see what is the work that must be done in order to turn it into a reality.

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MORE HIGHWAYS, MORE CARS, MORE CONGESTION, MORE EMISSIONS . . . ? – Lessons from the learned

Penang aerial photo of highly devloped road system - from Joshua Woo

Aerial photo taken from above article by Mr. Joshua Woo.

Commentary of  Assoc Prof Ahmad Hilmy Abdul Hamid from the School of Housing, Building and Planning,of the  Universiti Sains Malaysia. (See bio note below and list of scholarly publications)  — commenting  on a letter to the editor by Mr. Joshua Woo Sze Seng that appeared in the Star newspaper  last week on 28 May on the topic,  More Highways, More Cars?:

MALAYSIANS are very lucky to have freedom of expression. Anyone can write anything in the newspaper or social media, barring of course things that insult the fabric of our harmonious society.

Unfortunately, this same freedom also allows opinions to be shared by people who might be clueless as to how things work in certain areas.  Yet, these people appear as if they are an authority on the subject just because they are passionate in their beliefs or they happen to shout louder than most.

When Mr. Joshua Woo wrote as an opinion piece  in the Star newspaper  last week on 2 May,  More Highways, More Cars?:   He opens with the following challenge statement:

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Our Personal Choices — and Our (un)Sustainable Lives

I don’t think we can buy the argument anymore that we deserve special dispensation just because we think what we  —  the “elite” — are doing is worthwhile. 

airplan taking off polution - photo dsleeter_2000

Let’s see. At last count there were already well more than seven billion of us sharing this suddenly very small planet. And let’s say, just to get a crude handle on this, that each of us, whether in Mali or Malibu, makes something like a hundred “personal planet action choices” each day, leading to specific actions which when we had them all up have quite a potential impact on our earth.

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