Battles of Ideas

complex systems networkThis section is intended to be developed into 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.

Continue reading

A New Mobility Strategy for your City

toronto-gr-nma3

Basic principles and strategies of the New Mobility Agenda

The shift from old to new mobility is not one that turns its back on the importance of high quality mobility for the economy and for quality of life for all. It is not and should not be seen as a step down in terms of life quality.

Continue reading

Happiness: The Transformative Role of Sustainable Transport

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 Charles Montgomery in trafficthoughts 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.

Continue reading

Archives: Bremen Declaration on Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning in Europe

An excellent summary reminder of what a sustainable transport master plan is all about. Sadly in the real world of politics and lobbies, we will hear and read many of these words, lightly said, but the real challenges behind each of these short points are all too rarely understood and respected.  It is the job of those of us who understand the importance of these points to stubbornly bring them up again and again as the decision process moves on.  Eternal vigilance and active civil society.

Mayors, political representatives and transport experts of numerous municipalities and regions in Europe and beyond, are assembled in Bremen on April 12-13th, 2016 for the 3rd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans.

While recognising that European guidance documents exist on sustainable urban mobility planning, Bremen and other European cities demonstrate that it is possible to breathe life into a planning document by grounding the plan in the experience and context of a city with all of its large and small challenges. The purpose of this document is to place the EU’s sustainable urban mobility planning guidelines firmly in the context of the reality of European cities.

The third annual SUMP conference focusses on an efficient and people-focussed city as a core objective of Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning. Following on the conference themes, this declaration emphasises some cornerstones of content and process:

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Book review: Mobility: A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future

* by Ethan Goffman. Posted 8th September 2015 in 

john-whitelegg-inter-view-with-satnam-ranaFor the past couple of decades, a small group of thinkers, calling themselves variously ecological economists, degrowthers, and voluntary simplifiers, has undertaken a seemingly quixotic quest against the global obsession with growth for its own sake. They question the idea that increased gross domestic product will invariably help all people regardless of social standing, and question even more the environmental sustainability of limitless growth. A new book, Mobility by John Whitelegg, a British professor of transportation planning and former local government councilor, puts forth a kind of corollary to this thinking, attacking the pursuit of mobility for its own sake.

Important announcement: Mobility has been priced to  move. Available in both paper and eBook form for less than USD 10.00. See http://tinyurl.com/zxclcz4
(Thank you John for thinking about students, fund-strapped NGOs and readers in developing, smaller cities with tight budgets.)

Continue reading