* Most definitely not a city without cars, but a city in which living without a car is, on the grounds of convenience, comfort and economics for many preferable to living with one. It is not about government interference or compulsion. It is a scenario which offers more and better choices. (Does your city offer that choice?)
With one eye to laying the base for our work and collaborative programs , we are currently in the process of updating and extending this list of distinguished international colleagues, each of whom is hard at work day after day on challenges, projects and programs, alone and with others, all in support of the principles of sustainable development and equity, in cities and countries around the world. It is our intention to have the revised and expanded version of this panel listing online in the early autumn of 2016.
The final version will include some explanatory materials to clarify the process by which this “New Mobility Majority” is in the process of overtaking the old attitudes, approaches and policies which have been largely responsible for our gross under-performance in the sector, all the more important as the 21st century noose tightens in terms of climate, local environment, energy supply, scarce resources, the economy, congestion, poor service quality for the majority, and the long list goes on. (In the meantime we want to hear from you with your ideas and outstanding nominations for the panel. And if you spot errors or omissions on the following, please get in touch and let us know.)
Whereas Car Free Days have been organized in cities around the world all over the year for the last two decades, there is inevitably a spate of high activity in the month of September, much of it the result of the European Commission’s continuing commitment to both the concept of Car Free Days and their own European Mobility Week. And each year we here at World Streets dig into our archives and dust off one or two of the classics as a timely reminder of the fact that the Car Free Day concept has been around and doing its bit since the first international CFD challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.
Every day is a great day to take a few cars off the road, and think about it.
This was the theme of the first announcement of a World Car Free Days collaborative initiative that was first proposed in Toledo Spain in October 1994 and which within months was on-street reality in the first three cities launching Car Free Days of their own: Reykjavík (Iceland), Bath (United Kingdom) and La Rochelle (France). World Streets continues to participate actively in planning, celebrating and analyzing the results of these Days (and now Weeks and even Months) in cities around the world. All this from a simple idea that was discussed on a sunny autumn day in the ancient city of Toledo.
As part of preparing the way for a sponsored project, the last six weeks here were given over to work aimed at laying a firm organizational, working tools and communications base for the actual project. As of this date here are the main building blocks already for the most part in at least beta working order and ready to go as soon as the sponsors and partners give the green light:
We hear once again from Mr. Teoh Huey Hooi who comments on July 23 on the following graphic issued by the SRS team with government support. He tells us that “this comparison is obvious, Halcrow just a conceptual guideline, Penang Forum just opposing and did nothing. SRS is the most professional one.”
Interesting interpretation, but let’s have a closer look.
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.
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.