Cities live and flourish when they find their own way to combine density, mixed use, access, active citizenry and quality of life. And thus every square meter that today is not being used in the public interest is a waste, a failure of imagination and citizen engagement. Happily this idea of reclaiming the unoccupied, the abandoned, or the hijacked spaces of the city for the community as a whole is a movement that is now in full flower, and we intend to report on it in World Streets. We are calling this: The un/OCCUPIED movement.
Today the International Energy Agency has published a new report, A Tale of Renewed Cities. The report draws on examples from more than 30 cities across the globe to show how to improve transport efficiency through better urban planning and travel demand management. Extra benefits include lower greenhouse-gas emissions and higher quality of life. According to the report, policies that improve the energy efficiency of urban transport systems could help save as much as USD 70 trillion in spending on vehicles, fuel and transportation infrastructure between now and 2050.
From the World Carshare Consortium: I would like to offer a “thought experiment” with anyone here who may wish to jump in with their ideas. criticism and/or proposals — or perhaps only to pull up a chair and see what happens in a case like this. The short story is that I would like to see what, if anything, happens with a simple change of title and focus for this group — the World Carshare Consortium at http//worldcarshare.com + + World Streets on Carsharing at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/category/sharetransport/carshare + Facebook page on carsharing http://www.facebook.com/groups/worldcarshare/ + YahooGroups discussion forum at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WorldCarShare — which for almost 15 years now has been focusing its attention strictly on the varieties of carsharing that are fast multiplying and taking an increasingly important role in the mobility options of people in cities around the world. Carsharing has a brilliant, in many ways surprising and certainly very different future, which in fact is already well in process. But there is more to our story than that. Continue reading
It is well established by now, in leading circles of knowledge, policy and practice at least, that mixed use is the fourth dimension of the tetraptych of the four interlocking axes of Transport/Mobility/Access/Presence. And in this case namely presence.
To my thinking, the concept of mixed use in a society that puts a premium on job creation and local entrepreneurship as well as sheer mobility per se, has not until now gotten a fair run, either in the literature or in practice. And yet it is vital to the future well-being of our cities and all those who live and work there. Continue reading
This is not the first time anyone addressed these themes. In the City in History, a classic text of urban design. Mumford urged in 1963 that technology achieves a balance with nature and hoped for a rediscovery of urban principles that emphasised humanity’s organic relationship to its environment. Forty-five years on, the film clips look incredibly old and the message delivered in a rather morbid and factious manner (to quote Jane Jacobs), with a slightly ‘Outer Limits’ or ‘Twilight Zone’ ambience. Yet some of the key ideas promoted by Mumford have increasing resonance with the sustainability and green agenda of the early 21st century. In the increasingly praxis orientated and commodified world of urban design, whether anyone is listening or not is another matter.
Michael Alba reports from Boston on this new guide for transport planners:
Sustainable Transportation Planning seeks to tackle the greatest social and environmental concerns of the 21st century, focusing on the role of transportation in creating more sustainable communities. It is a how-to guide for anyone interested in the economic, social and ecological health of cities. Continue reading
What? You know all about transport in cities and you have never heard of Groningen? Well, check out this : an unexpected street interview in Groningen, a slice of life as filmed by our old friend and transport innovating colleague Robert Stussi. He has titled it: “A Homage to Hans Monderman”. Hear, hear! Continue reading
“If your parking policy debates are going in circles, there is a good chance the protagonists are ‘framing’ parking in totally different ways.” (Let’s see what Paul Barter of Reinventing Parking had to say on this earlier today in Singapore.) Continue reading
Michael Kimmelman reports in today’s New York Times about the new trend whereby “All around the world, highways are being torn down and waterfronts reclaimed; decades of thinking about cars and cities reversed; new public spaces created.” That is certainly good news and true, but there is a bit more to it than that as you will see if you read on. Continue reading
As we move ahead with the Safe Streets project over the course of the year ahead, there will be a small group of people to whom we shall be referring from time to time who have, through their insights and contributions, basically redefined the entire field of transport in cities. And Mrs. Jane Jacobs is of course one of this wonderful group. We are honored to be able to share these leadership profiles with you, and for Mrs. Jacobs we pass the word to Michael Mehaffy who reminds us of her contributions and takes on her critics head-on. Continue reading
Hopefully we have learned at least one hard lesson of life, and that is that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. And here right before our eyes we have a case in point with the Occupy movements that are sweeping Europe and North America, a public crisis that is most unexpectedly taking place on “public land”. And then suddenly, with no advance notice, everything starts to morph and the issues involved start to encompass not only the continuing unchecked egregious abuses of the financial community but also important (for democracy) issues of public space — one of our consistent concerns here at World Streets. So in an effort to make sure that we do not miss the opportunity behind this crisis, we pass the word back to Andrew Curry so that he can build further on his article under this title earlier this week Continue reading
The Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice is the long-standing idea and print partner of World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda since 1995. The Autumn 2011 edition appears with articles by Theo Haris, Michelle Zeibots and John Elliott, and Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy. In the article that follows you will find the hard-hitting lead editorial by founding editor John Whitelegg. (For a more complete introduction to World Transport click here.)
We think quite a lot about space here at World Streets, from at least two perspectives. First and naturally enough given that the goal of transportation/mobility/access is specifically to find ways to bridge space, in one way or another, and for better or for worse. And second, because when we get to cities, and given the bulimic, gorging nature of our present dominant transportation options, space starts to get in very short supply (the so-called elephant in the bedroom syndrome). But it is not just space per se; no less important is the quality of public and social space in cities that is (or at least should be) a continuing concern of policy makers and citizens alike. So when we spotted a thoughtful piece such as Andrew Curry’s short article that follows, we are glad to be able to share it with our readers. Continue reading
During one of our eternal research and reading probes which had us looking at and weighing the advantages, etc., of the many diverse approaches to creating “Livable Streets” (my favorite that being the term of the great and much missed Donald Appleyard), “Complete Streets”, “Quiet Streets”, “Fused Grids” . . . (just to cite a few of their many names”), we tumbled onto a phrase “Filtered Permeability” which was altogether new to us. After a bit we identified the person who had coined it, Steve Melia of the University of the West of England, and asked him to fill us in: Continue reading
This article addresses from an Indo-Swedish perspective issues of the development of transport systems, taking its examples from Delhi and Stockholm. The introduction of the first BRT or bus rapid transport corridor in Delhi and the institution of a congestion tax in Stockholm are presented and discussed in terms of modernisation and sustainable transport. The authors explore the perceptions of politicians and examine the two projects in the search for the driving forces for transport policies. Despite all the differences, some similarities in the development of their urban transport projects have been found.
It will drive you crazy, at least it does this cyclist. The quiet Dutch voice of reason while they so patiently try to help us understand that a cycling nation or city is not built overnight. But put aside your prejudices (and your prides), and spend five minutes with the Dutch cycling guru Mark Wagenbuur while he rides us through the history of cycle infrastructure in the Netherlands. (There had to be a reason for it.)
On the eve of Thanksgiving 2010 sitting here in Paris, my thoughts not unnaturally turn to my native America. And since our view here is from the street I have to think a bit unhappily about why is it that we in this great country do not seem to be able to let go of “old mobility” – i.e., whenever you spot a problem you build something to solve it (also known as the Edifice Complex) – as the highest-possible cost, least civil, one size fits all solution to our problems of efficient transport and fair access in and around cities. Of course we Americans invented old mobility a long time ago — and at the time it seemed like such a logical and dynamic solution to the connection challenges of a vast growing nation. As indeed it was. But suddenly it’s 2010, the twentieth century is long behind us, and if we look carefully at the low quality of what we are seeing on our city streets across the nation it would strike one that perhaps it is time to rethink OM from bottom to top and come up with something a lot better. For example New Mobility, which without our having to define it here is the basic strategy and value set that is behind the far more successful city transport arrangements we can see in hundreds of leading cities around the world – and none of them sadly are American.
Why and how have we arrived at this sad state of affairs? Well, let me ask a foreigner working in this field who has long lived in and long admired America to tell us about what he thinks is going on. Sometimes when you are lost it helps to stop the car, roll down the window, and ask for some directions. Let’s try. Continue reading
Urban sprawl is at its best a very mixed bag, as we all know. But worse yet behind its tempting glamorous face it surreptitiously locks in unsustainability in many many ways, ending up with a grossly unfair package of no-choice mobility combined with close to totalitarian car dependence for all at the top of the awful list. But is this a prisoner’s dilemma in which everyone at the table is forever destined to lose once those die are cast? Not so sure about that. The other day, we heard from Paul Mees with our review article “Locked in Suburbia: Is there life after Autopia?” where he suggests that we will do well to look more closely at the options other than hand-wringing that are in fact there to be taken. While today, Jarrett Walker walks us through his interpretation of how “sprawl repair” can work without waiting for some distant Nirvana (or Hell, whichever my be your vision of choice).
One of the amazing/complicating things about the world of mobility in cities is that it is one of those slices of daily life where everything touches something else and then something else again. Which means that nothing ever obliges us by standing still long enough so that we can fix it fast, once and for ever. It’s all about process.
So here is a report from today’s New York Times on a pretty exciting waterfront project here in Paris for which World Streets’ editor was interviewed this week and about which, when you get right down to it, is pure New Mobility Agenda. As you can see he managed to patch in some of our common concerns here (see closing section below), along with some words on the importance of value capture and tax reform, followed up by a good closer from Todd Litman in Vancouver. You will recognize and I hope appreciate it.
Sustainable mobility: Step by step. Step by consistent persistent step.
Density. Sprawl. Car-dependence as a result of car use’s gradual reshaping of our cities. The unintended consequences of a no-policy transport and land use policy can be catastrophic for many, in many ways. And once the damage has been done(see the map of last week’s piece contrasting two cities of the same population size: Atlanta and Barcelona)it is not easy task to get the toothpaste back into the tube. But let’s get to that another day. Today let’s listen to Christopher Tan on Singapore’s no tears transport policy.