Sustainable Penang Civil Society Honor Roll

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Dear Friends of a Sustainable Penang,

I am hard at work on a challenging book under the title BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Mobility to Smaller Asian Cities, which is not about Penang, the focus being much broader. However, at one point in the book I intend to comment on some of the most interesting things I have observed that are being done in Penang via the internet and civil society in order to broaden the debate and inform both concerned citizens, government, the business community, policy makers and the public more generally. We call this The Third Force.

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The rough road to sustainable mobility: Values, priorities, behavior . . and finally, understanding people

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WHY ARE THEY THERE? NOW? (Work trip in Jakarta on one more busy morning)  Each person behind a wheel there made a choice.  How can we give them Better Choices? That’s the rub.

What many people call “transportation” . .  is at its very essence not about road or bridges, nor vehicles or technology, and not even about money.  Above all it is about people, their needs, fears, desires and the decisions they make. And the backdrop — real and mental — against which they make those decision. The transport planner needs to know more them and take this knowledge into the center of the planning and policy process. What makes them tick, individually and collectively.  What do they want and what they are likely to resist. And people, as we all know, are intensely complicated, personal and generally change-resistant. . But if we take the time and care we can start to understand them, at least a bit better. Which is a start.

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BETTER CHOICES IN MALTA: 2025 Transport Master Plan

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Some very interesting things and lively discussions going on in Malta when it comes to their transport master plan for 2025 that we all might learn from. Here is a first set of references to open up the topic:

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Penang and Monorails x 3: Say it with music

Penang is not the first small city in the world faced with a sudden ambition for a monorail.  But THREE monorails. Woah! So to put this into perspective we thought it might be useful to report on the discussions in another place and another, the city of Springfield in the USA, the home of the Simpsons, models off ecology.   A great opportunity to learn from the experience of others. Let’s have a look.

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Archives: The struggle for local democracy in Malaysia

This is one of those special times for Malaysia when change and ideas are most  welcome. So there is hope and opportunity.  And it is one of those special times when change, even paradigm shifts are possible, and local governments given a new and more central place in the lives of our citizens. If we can together constructively, creatively and systematically build and add to the many promising initiatives , and if civic engagement leads an upsurge of citizen interest, we will surely see the emergence of an efficient, effective, equitable, democratic local government system in Malaysia that is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable.  And make a marked improvement in the quality of life of all Malaysians.
* Anwar Fazal, Penang. In Malaysiakini, 12 April 2001

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Have you thought about getting an Undriving license?

There is a program in Seattle, WA that wants to teach you to become an “Undriver”. — Go to http://undriving.org/ for details.

Using creative methods to brainstorm and implement different ways to cut down on driving trips, their mission is to challenge people to reduce car trips in any way, shape or form.

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Op-Ed. Andrew tries to get across the street in Penang.

CONGRATULATIONS ANDREW: Best one-person transportation initiative that I have seen since first starting to follow developments in Penang in September 2013.

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