A Weekend Tale of Shared-Mobility & Shared-Space: ___________BODHISATTVA IN THE METRO________

The Sanskrit term Bodhisattva  is the name given to anyone who, motivated by great compassion and wisdom, has generated bodhichitta, a spontaneous wish to attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient beings. What makes someone a Bodhisattva is her or his spontaneous and limitless dedication to the ultimate welfare of others.

(May we suggest that you view this at least two times? Get comfortable.)

It’s not the destination, it’s the voyage.  It’s the way in which this public space is suddenly shared.  Happily shared.

Merci Christine.

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Somebody asked me this morning . . .

chinese running horses smallSomebody organizing a conference in the coming months on the future of transport in cities called in this morning to ask me, for the nth time in the last two decades, why is it that what appears to any thinking person as an excellent, even more than that, vitally necessary concept such as sustainable development in all of its many forms is proving so notoriously ineffective —  to the extent that despite all the articles and books published, conferences held, agencies created, university programs, scientific progress, and even convincing real-world innovations, actions and projects, the bottom line indicators of our gross UNsustainability (greenhouse gas production, climate change and its devastating impacts, continuing mindless resource bulimia, etc.) continue to progress steadily in the wrong direction. By many indicators we seem to be getting smarter, at least at the leading edge.  So why are we losing the war?

I hesitated to roll this around in my mind and then told my respected colleague that I would have to have a second cup of coffee and stare out into space a bit, and promised to ring back in an hour or so if that was okay by her. (It was.)

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English as a second language: Good choice? Bad choice?

drawing woman writing at desk

Like it or not, however, English is an awful choice for an international language, not least because its spelling and pronunciation abide by no rules. How much easier it would have been for the world, if we had, say, taken Italian as our shared language where every clearly pronounced word is immediately and impeccably spellable. However fate wished otherwise, so today we are condemned to work with what we have, English. But here are a few words of comfort for those who are often confused about the awful slip between the spelling and the pronunciation, and vice versa. Hopefully it will cheer you up. As you will see, if you are at times baffled you are not alone.

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Interview: World Streets editor interviews busy mayor on his sustainable transport strategy

Asking the mayor of Freedonia to walk the talk

groucho at deskFreedonia City Hall, 20 June 2015.09:00. The mayor is comfortably seated  at his  imposing desk, looking fondly at an unlit cigar.  After a lengthy wait and a nod from the imposing receptionist, the editor of World Streets knocks lightly and waits timidly at the door, entirely drenched and  more than a bit disheveled. Not a pretty sight.

The Mayor: Well sir, you are a fine mess. Careful there, you are dripping on my favorite chair. Continue reading

Spring Break: Happy City Weekend on World Streets – Part 2

Charles Montgomery in traffic =-2

Charles Montgomery digs into his book “Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design” in this 19 minute TEDx talk, and explains to us how happiness can be not only a wish or dream, but can be approached by policy makers and city builders as a measurable and achievable goal.

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Spring Break: Happy City Weekend on World Streets – Part 1

Happy City Gorton interview NYC

Author Charles Montgomery Talks “Happy City” with Mark Gorton, Philanthorpist and public servant

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Sempé: A Short History of Social Mobility

A Short History of Social Mobility in five small frames – from a collection of drawings and pastels that first appeared in the edition “Nothing is easy” (Rien n’est simple) by Jean-Jacques Sempé, published a half century ago in 1962.  And even back then the message was howlingly clear. Amazing to think of how little it is understood two generations later in most cities around the world, rich and poor, even though the indisputable proof is right before our eyes. If only we choose to look. (From World Streets Archives)

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Envisioning: The Social Space Format

The power of images. The power of perspective. It’s pretty clear by now that we are going to need a lot more than walls of words, thick reports and endless expert conferences to turn the world toward sustainability. So to help our cause we invite our readers to jump in and share with us striking their “social space” graphics which illustrate in telling ways the world’s streets and all that takes place thereon in many places and in many ways. To get a feel for how this works out using our challenging 980 x 150 pixels format, read on — or if you are in a hurry click here to go direct to the photo gallery. Continue reading

Inside world: 2016 World Streets Haiku Sustainability Slam

Sustainability is not a four letter word
(but maybe it should be)

japen statue BashoThe fourth annual Haiku Sustainability Slam is being organized by World Streets and its friends as an ecumenical  pagan celebration to the coming Rite of Spring, in part inspired by  the exhilarating  French annual speak-out program The Springtime of Poets (Le printemps des poètes) opens this year  from 5 to 20 March.  A few words of background to set the stage for what we hope will be your own valiant poeticizing efforts.

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Weekend Musing: Car Free Sundays – Dutch Style in 1973

Some fine people in Australia remind us today in a blog entitled Gizmodo about one of the many historic predecessors of the Car Free Day movement, more formally launched at an international conference in Toledo Spain in 1992 (see Thursday: A breakthrough strategy for reducing car dependence in cities) .  We need to keep an eye on those Dutch. They seem to be on to something.

Dutch Car Free Sunday 1973 - Pictures. Netherlands National Archive, Getty - www.gizmodo - small

 Car Free Sunday, Netherlands, 1973

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“The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces”

This for your weekend viewing pleasure just in from Clarence Eckerson, Streetfilms, NYC:

When I first got started making NYC bike advocacy and car-free streets videos back in the late-1990s on cable TV, I didn’t know who William “Holly” Whyte was or just how much influence his work and research had on New York City. A few years later I met Fred and Ethan Kent at Project for Public Spaces. I got a copy of Whyte’s 1980 classic, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, which in its marvelously-written, straightforward style is the one book all burgeoning urbanists should start with.

Recently, I read it again. With all the developments in video technology since his day, I wondered: How might Whyte capture information and present his research in a world which is now more attuned to the importance of public space? What would he appreciate? Are his words still valid?

So I excerpted some of my favorite passages from the book and tried to match it up with modern footage I’ve shot from all over the world while making Streetfilms. I hope he would feel honored and that it helps his research find a new audience.

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Inside world: 2014 Haiku Sustainability Slam

Sustainability is not a four letter word

(but maybe it should be)

japen statue BashoThe second annual Haiku Sustainability Slam is being organized by World Streets and its friends as an ecumenical  pagan celebration to the coming Rite of Spring, in part inspired by  the exhilarating  French annual speak-out program The Springtime of Poets (Le printemps des poètes) opens this year  on the 23rd of March.  A few words of background to set the stage for what we hope will be your own valiant poeticizing efforts.

lend me your arms
fast as thunderbolts
for a pillow on my journey

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