Encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home

pope francis in crowd

Photo: Massimo Pinca/AP

Pope Francis’s just-promulgated encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home”, is without a doubt the most important single document to be published, initiative  to be taken, since the phrase sustainable development was invented three long and patently unsuccessful decades ago. This extraordinary document of less than one hundred pages aims to inform and to rally the forces of responsible  behavior and responsible governance to the cause and the plight of our planet and to the role of active democracy.  Beautifully written (the English language version at least), clearly presented and cogently argued in clear day to day language.    It is an excellent and inspiring read. However it is not a recipe, it has its shortcomings — it is a challenge, and thus requires that we read it carefully and do our own sorting out of the issues and the counsel it offers. Hardly an effortless process.

One of the more disheartening passages includes his listing of all the promising international agreements that have failed for lack of support from the leaders who signed them.

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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.

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World Streets Vidéothèque: Latest edition (Try Slugging)

In response to our New Year’s annual roundup of the library of striking and informative videos assembled over the last years by the editor and readers of World Streets, one just came in today from New Zealand, thanks to Paul Minett, Chairman of the Ridesharing Institute. To contact him directly, email him at paulminett@tripconvergence.co.nz.

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Discussions and Views on proposed Public Bicycle System for George Town, Malaysia

See the latest government announcements, vigorous discussions and media coverage of the proposed 2015 public bicycle project for George Town on our supporting Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/SustainablePenang.

malaysia penange pbs map

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Laying the Base for Public Bicycle Sharing in Penang

As we are seeing in these pages Penang in general and Georgetown in particular Penang bike graffitiare giving attention to the possibility of creating a public bicycle system for the city. As a first step they have issued a Request for Proposals which is shortly to come online. This is a great thing because there are many reasons to create conditions for safe and agreeable cycling on city streets across the state.

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Carsharing on the rise in the Netherlands (Act 3)

Thanks to the Dutch Kennisplatform Verkeer en Vervoer (KpVV) (which I roughly translate to the Knowledge Platform for Traffic and Transportation) for this excellent update (June 2013) on the situation for carsharing in the Netherlands. It is part of a series entitled “Trends and developments in the field of sustainable and smart mobility”. The numbers are interesting and tell a story, and their analysis is first-class. Recommended reading and in the hope that we shall shortly be able to share with our readers similar country reports and updates of the state of car sharing in other countries, both in Europe and beyond.

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A Short History of Ridesharing in North America

USA carpooling with highway signThis excellent review of ridesharing history, practices, trends and issues in North America was recently presented by its author, Susan Shaheen of the University of California, Berkeley, to a Webinar organised by the Ridesharing Institute. You may want to give particular attention to her last two pages which are more forward looking: Key Questions from Workshop and Factors to Consider.

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