World Streets Birdwatchers Guide To Dangerous Political Predators

Reflections on dangerous political predators on the prowl and a real menace to democracy, equity and the planet.
woman camera focusing bird watchers guide-smallerThere is a specific kind of nasty, dangerous, entirely selfish animal on the prowl, to be found in almost every country on this gasping planet, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. And I believe it would be to our great good fortune if we are somehow able to spot this species of villainous beast by recognizing its markings, its familiar, common signs. Know this and we can then go birding.

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Op-Ed. On Motorized Two-Wheelers in Taiwan (and cities around the world)

Taipei M2Ws at intersection - larger

Wayne Gao on M2Ws in Taiwan

World Streets has for some years now  pushed hard for the idea of an integrated strategic planning approach and operations plan for the better, safer use of motorized two wheelers in and around cities. This has largely been an uphill struggle.  Not to claim that there have not been innovations and improvements here and there. But for the most part, this creeping problem continues insidiously to take on ever great proportions, while those responsible continue to look elsewhere. We really need to do better than that.

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Tread softy because you tread on their lives.

Rikshawala from Kathmandu, Nepal:  तैयारी  जीवन  बचाउँछ  (“Preparedness saves lives”)

What you are looking at here is nothing less than a lesson in: (1) Mobility (2) Affordability. (3) Zero carbon (4) Clean. (5) Quiet, (6) Space-efficient. (7) A job. (8) Income. (9) Family. And (10) A life.

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OP-ED: Time for more Strategic Citizen Impatience for a Bicycle Master Plan for Penang

penang-bfc-better-cike

Penang has waited long enough, too long I would say, to have a real cycling program, which starts on and will transform the streets to ensure safe and abundant cycling for all ages. As far as I can see (I hope I am wrong) the State government of has not announced strategic program for a cycling renaissance: no comprehensive audit, no specific commitment, no explicit goals, no announced global budget, no open working group, and no timetable or metrics again which success or failure could be judged. Yes, you have some activities and improvements going on here and there– but these are fragmented and there is no overarching MASTER PLAN FOR CYCLING IN PENANG.

 * Eric Britton: Notes from a group discussion on the Sustainable Penang WhatsApp forum of the lack of a structured bicycle plan for Penang, 17 Feb. 2017

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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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Bigger, Wider, Faster and More Roads for Penang . . . : Politicians, Engineers, External Costs (And you)

penang-save-the-trees-demontration-cap

What are the actual costs off building bigger, wider, fast and more roads for Penang: Let’s start by hearing two conflicting and in many ways typical opinions:

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