Seventeen plus 1 reasons why I am prudently optimistic about the Sustainability Transition for 2018-2020

Shortlist of Transformative Realities and Trends

eb-tallinn-statementOne of the great recompenses of having watched the sustainable transportation and related technology developments evolve over the course of several decades, is that if one takes the time to step back and scan the evidence for pattern breaks, one can readily spot a certain number of  trends, fundamental structural changes, quite a few of which bode well for a different and better future for transport in and around cities. Here are a handful of the fundamental underlying changes which I have spotted over the last decades and which I would like to share with you this morning.

Let’s start with a simple listing and then go on to brief comments in an attempt to clarify.

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Outreach for success: Local actors & implementation partners

Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. We have to take a . . .
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A Walk along the Street of Harmony in Penang

Penang Street of Harmony Project celebrates mutual tolerance illustrated by this amazingly cosmopolitan microcosm.

– Anwar Fazal takes us for a walk down the Street of Harmony in Penang.

The island of Penang, Malaysia, has long been a magnet for a multitude of people from all over the world and has over the last two centuries succeeded in integrating countless cultures and religions into its very fabric.

Penang  is very special.  It was a place that opened up for all the communities of the world. That particular special flavor, sometimes in many places in the world, is all too often lost over history. But in Penang, uniquely, it continued.

There is much Penang can teach the world today about acceptance and harmony in diversity.

* * * Walk down the streets of Penang with Anwar Fazal. |  View: https://vimeo.com/219493364

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International Symposium on Travel Demand Management (TDM) Taipei invites Penang

* * * SPECIAL RATES FOR PARTICIPANTS FROM PENANG * * *

The 8th International Symposium On Travel Demand Management is taking place in Taiwan from 27-29 September. All details at http://2017tdm.ntu.edu.tw/.

In recognition to those who are involved in the present vigorous public debate on a viable transport strategy and plan for Penang, the organizers are offering sharp discounts to anyone working on these issues in Penang – whether government, university, NGOs, civil society, researchers, consultants and investigative media. Instead of the full price (USD 350.00) as per 1 August the following prices are available for participants from Penang:

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SLOW CITY STRATEGIES: START HERE

Maylasia Penang pred crossing in traffic Pulau Tikus

FOR THE RECORD AND IN BRIEF:

A Slow City is an urban development vision and quantifiable target, the first step of which is  (a) to reduce traffic accidents and their human and economic costs to zero  in the city, by (b) strategically slowing down traffic, over all the parts and the system as a whole. This gives the city a measurable target output (accident data and on-street and in-vehicle ITS feedback) for evaluation and management purposes,  and an innovative platform to link and serve other sustainable projects and programs which are consistent to the theme: reforms and improvements that are Better | Cheaper | Safer.

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The 2016 Civil Society Penang Sustainable Mobility Challenge: Lessons Learned and Next Steps

What were the weaknesses of our collaborative summer 2016 push

  • Very few – terrific job. Most sincerely! But also, to be honest and strategic . . .

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Slow City: In the beginning were the Provos (and the White Plans)

luud-provo-cop-white-bike

To understand Luud Schimmelpennink’s White Bicycle Plan, it helps to have a look at the broader context of values, philosophy and politics that were prevailing in Amsterdam at that time –  the Provos, a Dutch counterculture youth movement in the mid-1960s.

And if one concludes that this was more or less what was going on in other parts of Europe and North America, you would be right.  And a bit wrong. The Dutch were digging deeper. At least this part of Dutch society was.

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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:

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In the beginning were the Provos (and the White Plans)

luud-provo-cop-white-bike

To understand Luud Schimmelpennink’s White Bicycle Plan, it helps to have a look at the broader context of values, philosophy and politics that were prevailing in Amsterdam at that time –  the Provos, a Dutch counterculture youth movement in the mid-1960s.

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Hairdryers induce Slowth. QED.

lady-with-hair-dryer-bbc-com

Hairdryers in one Scottish city used to slow traffic

A brilliant, soft idea for the world’s streets. In areas around schools, pedestrian areas, bike lanes, crosswalks, intersections, hospitals, seniors’ homes, play streets, commercial areas, and low speed zones more generally.

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Sustainable Penang Civil Society Honor Roll

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Dear Friends of a Sustainable Penang,

I am hard at work on a challenging book under the title BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Mobility to Smaller Asian Cities, which is not about Penang, the focus being much broader. However, at one point in the book I intend to comment on some of the most interesting things I have observed that are being done in Penang via the internet and civil society in order to broaden the debate and inform both concerned citizens, government, the business community, policy makers and the public more generally. We call this The Third Force.

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The rough road to Sustainable Mobility: Values, priorities, behavior . . and finally, understanding people

indonesia-jakarta-traffic-on-following-monday

WHY ARE THEY THERE? NOW? (Work trip in Jakarta on one more busy morning)  Each person behind a wheel there made a choice.  How can we give them Better Choices? That’s the rub.

What many people call “transportation” . .  is at its very essence not about road or bridges, nor vehicles or technology, and not even about money.  Above all it is about people, their needs, fears, desires and the decisions they make. And the backdrop — real and mental — against which they make those decision. The transport planner needs to know more them and take this knowledge into the center of the planning and policy process. What makes them tick, individually and collectively.  What do they want and what they are likely to resist. And people, as we all know, are intensely complicated, personal and generally change-resistant. . But if we take the time and care we can start to understand them, at least a bit better. Which is a start.

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BETTER CHOICES IN MALTA: 2025 Transport Master Plan

malta-transport-master-plan-car-on-street

Some very interesting things and lively discussions going on in Malta when it comes to their transport master plan for 2025 that we all might learn from. Here is a first set of references to open up the topic:

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Monorails: Thinking about one for your city?

Thinking about a monorail for your city?  Think again, yours is not the first small city in the world faced with a sudden ambition for a monorail.   Woah! So to put this into perspective we thought it might be useful to report on the discussions in another place and another, the city of Springfield in the USA, the home of the Simpsons, models of ecology.   A great opportunity to learn from the experience of others. Let’s have a look.

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Archives: The struggle for local democracy in Malaysia

This is one of those special times for Malaysia when change and ideas are most  welcome. So there is hope and opportunity.  And it is one of those special times when change, even paradigm shifts are possible, and local governments given a new and more central place in the lives of our citizens. If we can together constructively, creatively and systematically build and add to the many promising initiatives , and if civic engagement leads an upsurge of citizen interest, we will surely see the emergence of an efficient, effective, equitable, democratic local government system in Malaysia that is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable.  And make a marked improvement in the quality of life of all Malaysians.
* Anwar Fazal, Penang. In Malaysiakini, 12 April 2001

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Have you thought about getting an Undriving license?

There is a program in Seattle, WA that wants to teach you to become an “Undriver”. — Go to http://undriving.org/ for details.

Using creative methods to brainstorm and implement different ways to cut down on driving trips, their mission is to challenge people to reduce car trips in any way, shape or form.

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Op-Ed. Andrew tries to get across the street in Penang.

CONGRATULATIONS ANDREW: Best one-person transportation initiative that I have seen since first starting to follow developments in Penang in September 2013.

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Mediating Heritage Conservation and Urban Development in Contemporary Malaysia

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Cultural dissonance – Melaka

The more explored this question, as I dug deeper into my research it quickly became evident that there is a lot more to it than I had initially thought.

– Dr. Creighton Connally, Postdoctoral Fellow, Asian Urbanism Cluster, Asia Research Institute, NUS, Singapore

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Sustainable Penang’s Open Citizen Discussion Forum: Archives Dec. 2015-Oct. 2016

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Serendipity: The Happy Surprise

On 14 Dec. 2015: Mr. Lim Thean Heng, Chief Engineer, for reasons of his own, decided to created a WhatsApp group, “Sustainable Penang”. The results of his successful initiative can be accessed online via https://web.whatsapp.com/, and from there clicking the menu to Sustainable Penang. The forum is open to invited participants, and thus far has almost two hundred members, roughly 20% or so from outside Penang.  One of the main targets of the forum is to get feedback and views on the state government ‘s work in preparation of a Penang Transport Master Plan, on which there are many opposing views, including in the most informed public and reaches of civil society. But that is not the only thing that gets talked about there.

Did you realise that our WhatsApp forum is also a valuable research tool?

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Towards a New Mobility Agenda for Penang: October 2016

Penang Forum meeting

Penang Forum meeting

An open letter to Mr. Joshua Woo
Special Officer to Member of Parliament of Bukit Mertajam
Penang

Subject: – Commentary on your article appearing in the Penang Monthly October issue under the title “Better, Cheaper, Faster – Really?” – http://penangmonthly.com/better-cheaper-faster-really/

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