Important announcement: To celebrate European Mobility Week (16th-22nd, www.mobilityweek.eu/) the selling price of the e-book has been slashed to 99 UK pence (£0.99, about 1.15 Euros) from today up until the 22nd. You will have it immediately at http://tinyurl.com/zxclcz4 . (You may have to hunt for it just under the Kindle edition price slot).
John Whitelegg, Professor John Whitelegg, is a remarkable man. He has spent his entire professional life as a scholar, teacher, critic, publisher, activist and politician, trying to make sense out of our curious world and the contradictions of transport and mobility. And in a successful attempt to bring all the threads together, what he has learned about our topic in three decades of international work spanning all continents, he has just produced for our reading and instruction a remarkable and, I truly believe, much-needed book. His title gives away the game – Mobility: Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future.
Dr. Michael Lim Mah-Hui
The gentleman on the bike, Dr. Michael Lim Mah-Hui, is a city councilman in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. With an international background in economics, finance and public policy, he also has a long time interest in the challenges of sustainable development, livable cities, equitable transport, land use and historical preservation. He is active both as an elected councilor but also as a concerned and active citizen. He is in this, in his own words, for the long haul.
In a recent presentation to the City Council of Penang Island “Bicycling as One Component of a Comprehensive Transport Plan” — he wrote:
If I live outside of a city — say, in a classic spread suburb, rural area, commuter town or other hard to serve low density area — and if I happen not own a car, or on days when my car is not available, I am going to have an extremely hard time getting to work or wherever it is I need to go this morning.
In principle I have a few choices, for example: (a) Get down on my knees and beg for a ride from family or neighbors. (b) Try to find (and somehow get to) a bus or local pubic transport (in a period of ever-decreasing public services and budget cuts, so good luck!). (c) Search out a taxi if you can find one, call, wait for it eventually to show up and then pay a hefty amount. (d) For work trips, and if I am lucky, there may be a ride-sharing scheme. Or, for many less comfortable but still possible, (e) the hitchhiking option. (f) Or do like an increasing number of my fellow commuters and buy a cheap motorcycle. And perhaps most likely of all (g) be obliged to reschedule or forget the trip. But at the end of the day, and all things considered, I am forced to conclude that the reality of life in suburbia and rural areas today is: no car = no mobility. Harsh!
But stuff changes.We are entering a new and very different age of technology, communications and mobility, and as American writer Josh Stephens reminds us in the following article, things are starting to look up.
A lovely morning trip to work in Toronto. Seems to be working not quite as planned. Hmm!
Lisa Bennett, a writer and communications strategist focusing on climate change, has just published an article in Grist in which she picks out ten problems that we just about all have with our behaviour, our psychology and our attitude toward the future, and in particular the inevitably uncertain future of climate change. We have extracted the ten points she speaks to in this summary below. For the full article you will have to turn to Grist here –http://goo.gl/hO9E3E.
The bottom line has to be that to the extent all those concerned are until now unable to mobilize enough people on these issues to make a difference, we are simply going to have to be far better in making our case — and making and making and making it — than we have been up to now. Hard work ahead. Brain work! Let’s listen to Lisa.
Paris has a sustainable transportation strategy. It is working pretty well and they continue to make steady progress on it, though with miles to go before they sleep. What makes Paris particularly interesting and instructive as a real world example is that for many years it did not, and by the early 70s there were first big infrastructure initiatives knocking at the door that would have certainly turned it from being a city for people into a city for cars. And that particular destiny, by the way, was not just a random series of events. It was premeditated, largely shared in policy circles and destined to happen. At the time, in 1974, the Prefect for Paris (Paris did not at that point have its own mayor and hence a focal point and guardian of that special qualities) famously said (in my approximate but not inaccurate memory) “Parisians are born with two legs and four wheels”. Oops!
The Citizen: the missing link in the move to sustainable transport and sustainable cities