This section is intended as an international reference set to be useful for researchers, students, the media and for concerned citizens and activists on the lookout for ideas and strategies which can be put to work in their own cities.
The goal is to give our readers a chance to weigh and appreciate the very wide range of ways of thinking, questioning, planning and executing when it comes to how transport in cities is being organized and delivered in different parts of the world. The references you find here are for the most part organized into countries, with the exception of the African continent which is included in its totality as a region that desperately requires more attention because the needs there are so enormous — and the fact that the fit with frugal, sustainable transport strategies simply could not be better.
While you are away from the office and all the pressures of your workplace, here for your after-work reading pleasure are the twenty most read articles to appear in World Streets since opening day in 2009. Quite a varied lot, and when your editor reads them he generally prefers to do so not at a desk but seated comfortably with a tablet or largish window smartphone in hand to take advantage of those unstructured unexpected free moments that can pop up in any day. After all, World Streets is intended for the reflective back of your mind, not the whirring over-charged front.
Way to Go! 11 Reasons Why Trains, Buses, Bikes and Walking Move Us Toward a Brighter Future
– Guest editorial, by Jay Walljasper
According to the pundits and prophets who dominate the media, the future of transportation is all figured out for us. Cheaper gas prices mean we can still count on our private cars to take us everywhere we want to go in the years to come. The only big change down the road will be driverless autos, which will make long hours behind the wheel less boring and more productive.
But this everything-stays-the-same vision ignores some significant social developments. Americans have actually been driving less per-capita for the past decade, bucking a century-long trend of ever-increasing dependence on automobiles.
A morning like all others in Taipei traffic
Lyon, 3 February 2015
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
It had been a year and a half since I last worked in Taiwan, the longest separation since I started collaborating with colleagues there in 2009. During much of this interval, in addition to my teaching, editorial responsibilities and advisory work, I have been working on a most challenging new book under the title “General Theory of Transport in Cities”. The book aims to set out what I believe to be a much needed, consistent base for planning, policy and investment decisions in this important and fast changing field where ad hoc decision-making by unprepared politicians and ambitious interest groups has all too often prevailed.
This last year has been a period of deep reflection on my accumulated experience in the transport and sustainable development fields in cities around the world over more than four decades. As a result of this ongoing process, I find myself this time looking at the issues in Taiwan from this broader international perspective. My keynote address to the International Forum on Livable City & Eco-Mobility in Hsinchu on 29 January was the first in a series of international “road tests”, which are giving me a precious opportunity to present some of the main arguments from the book before expert audiences to test them and seek their critical comments and views. The lively discussions that took place in Hsinchu during the forum and my four days there proved to be most valuable.
Intersection in the central OSK demonstration site
The following PowerPoint slides were created to accompany a fifty minute keynote address by the editor of World Streets to the International Forum on Livable City and Eco-Mobility hosted by the Hsinchu city government in Taiwan on 29 January 2015. (A video of the address to be made shortly available.)
The presentation addresses and comments on the challenges being faced by this recently elected new administration, including in the context of his book in progress “Convergence: General Theory of Transport in Cities “, with discussion as well of sections of the recently published book of the Canadian urbanist and writer Charles Montgomery, “Happy City: Transforming Our Lives through Urban Design”.
In addition to looking at the mobility challenges facing the new government from an overall integrated state-of-the-art policy perspective, with special attention to the importance of integrating transportation and land use planning and urban design, the speaker spent some time commenting on the proposed One Square Kilometer (OSK) Walkable City demonstration project which the new administration is considering.
The other speakers and audience were all Taiwanese, and the main language of the forum was Chinese, with simultaneous translation to English.
The speaker has written up his final overall conclusions and recommendations for the January Taiwan Mission for Peer Review and commentary in a second document now available at http://wp.me/p1fsqb-1ua
In the late spring of 2012 the diligent editor of World Streets was visited by a young Canadian writer who announced that he was working on a book about “Happy Cities”, and in this context wanted to talk about my experience in and thoughts on the happiness arena, with particular attention to issues concerning ordinary people, people like Thee and Me, in our day-to-day lives: issues of mobility and public space, needs meet and unmet, individualism and community, time and distance, behavior and equity, economy and democracy . . . in Paris and around the world. Why not? What the hell, maybe I will learn something from him.
Charles Montgomery’s merciless interrogation lasted a full day,followed by extensive correspondence over the course of the next year. Toward the end of 2013 his book “Happy City: Transforming Our Lives through Urban Design” was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York. One year later the 368 page volume has just appeared in an affordable paperback edition, and is now widely available in bookshops, and of course the Internet. (PS. Support your local bookshop, it is a happier experience!) We thank the author and the publisher for permission to share the following extracts with our readers to celebrate the low-cost editions now available.