Important announcement: Mobility has been priced to move. Available in both paper and eBook form for less than USD 10.00. See http://tinyurl.com/zxclcz4
(Thank you John for thinking about students, fund-strapped NGOs and readers in developing, smaller cities with tight budgets.)
John Whitelegg, Professor John Whitelegg, is a remarkable man. He has spent his entire professional life as a scholar, teacher, critic, publisher, activist and politician, trying to make sense out of our curious world and the contradictions of transport and mobility. And in a successful attempt to bring all the threads together, what he has learned about our topic in three decades of international work spanning all continents, he has just produced for our reading and instruction a remarkable and, I truly believe, much-needed book. His title gives away the game – Mobility: Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future.
India’s hurried quest for development and its disregard for road safety have resulted in a major public health problem that demands serious thought and action.
This article by Professor K.S. Jacob, which is central to the matters which bring us together here in the Safe City 2018 Challenge, originally appeared in the pages of The Hindu of 6 October 2010 and was reprinted immediately in our sister publication Streets of India. As with John Whitelegg’s prescient 1993 piece on Time Pollution which was published here on Monday of this week, this independent expert commentary on safe, or rather unsafe, streets helps us to better understand the realities we need to face on the streets of our cities. Continue reading
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
– William Butler Yeats
World Streets has from the beginning been intended to serve as a journal of record of the difficult world wide push to sustainable transport and sustainable cities, and as a partner, free resource and toolkit for concerned citizens and decision makers as they try to sort their way through the complexity and contradictions of bringing sustainable transport to our cities and their hard to serve hinterlands. Many of our seven thousand-plus signed-in readers will for the most part keep their eye on the latest articles as they appear.
But there are others — students, educators, researchers, consultants, those working in concerned government agencies, transporters and other suppliers to the sector, city planners, activists, civil society, journalists, citizens looking for international background on specific topics — who need to have quick access to what the site has to offer. Which, it turns out, is quite a lot. Let’s have a look.
Getting around here
The mobility/growth paradigm (or the mobility complex)
– By John Whitelegg, extract from his book MOBILITY. A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future, Chapters 2 and 3. For more on the New Mobility Master Class program click here – https://goo.gl/BB2pPE
Mobility is most commonly measured, if at all, as total distance travelled per annum per capita in kilometres and/or total distance travelled per day per capita. There are other important dimensions e.g. number of trips made per day or number of destinations that can be accessed by different modes of transport in a defined unit of time but these are not generally measured in a systematic way or included in data sets. Usually mobility is not defined. It has become a rather vague concept associated with quality of life or progress and it is invoked as a “good thing” and something that should be increased. This is very clear in most national transport policies and at the European level where major transport policies and funding mechanisms are increasingly framed.
A recent EU research and development document (European Commission 2013a) begins with the main heading “Mobility for growth.” It does not define mobility. The document is an undiluted manifesto accepting and promoting the growth of mobility and advocating the importance of this growth for the success of wider economic policy objectives, asserting the unquestioned importance of endless economic growth and ignoring the voluminous literature on the impossibility of endless economic growth and of ecological and resource limits to growth (Douthwaite, 1992, Schneidewind, 2014).
Walking to school
The following reproduces the full text of John Whitelegg’s opening chapter of his book, Mobility: A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future, Straw Barnes Press. September 1, 2015. For further background on the 2018 online New Mobility Master Class program of which focuses on this introduction in the opening session, refer to: “Mobility, Death and Injury. (Let’s see what John Whitelegg has to say about this.)” at https://wp.me/psKUY-59l
In the 1950s as a primary school child in Oldham (UK) I had very limited mobility measured in terms of the number of miles I ranged over each week. Life was intensely focused on the locality, intense contact with other children who lived within 500 metres of my home, and intense outdoor play for as many hours as my parents would allow (usually more than they would allow). We children decided when to go out, where to go, with whom and what to play and from an early age acquired a great deal of proficiency in negotiation skills, dispute resolution and independent decision-taking.
Life was very good, full and rich and the low level of mobility contributed to that richness. Time that might have been spent in a car being taken to organized “things” was put to good use in ways we decided. We did not need to roam very far from home and we enjoyed our local streets, second world war air-raid shelters (dark, dirty and mysterious) and large amounts of untidy urban space.