Relayed: Seven Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free

The author of this brief illustrated article appearing in a recent issue of Fast Company & Inc  provides us with an easy read with pencil sketches in which she looks at and comments very briefly on a hand-picked collection of cities, each of which making their own way to their New Mobility Agenda. The selection of the seven cities is excellent (of course one can always argue, but you have picked among the top contenders) and the writer has done a good job in her short statements on each. Plus a number of very nice and evocative photos that help us first to dream, then to dare and then to do.

Milano.  Car free zone. Credit: Flickr- Chris Yunker

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Let’s get disabled kids to school

USA - Access Exchange International

This illustration shows how it should be: Disabled kids in developing countries should be able to get to school using a variety of accessible transport in order to learn alongside other kids. We hope you will help us as we work with others to turn this vision into a reality.

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Sempé: A Short History of Social Mobility

A Short History of Social Mobility in five small frames – from a collection of drawings and pastels that first appeared in the edition “Nothing is easy” (Rien n’est simple) by Jean-Jacques Sempé, published a half century ago in 1962.  And even back then the message was howlingly clear. Amazing to think of how little it is understood two generations later in most cities around the world, rich and poor, even though the indisputable proof is right before our eyes. If only we choose to look. (From World Streets Archives)

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Nobody saw it coming (Well almost nobody)

Netherlands Amsterdam civic action block street to cars filmTwo decades after the end of the Second World War,  a totally unexpected pattern was surreptitiously taking over cities across Europe, as each day more cars were being put on the road — and in the process began to unceasingly take over and threaten  public space and quality of life  in city after city. There it was plain for all to see, and yet few cities were prepared to take on the challenge. The metastasis was so grindingly persistent and so day by day that it simply seemed to be an inevitable part of the less desirable edge of Europe’s  new and hard-won prosperity. And after all, who can be against progress?  Certainly not most politicians.

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The Mayor of Paris invites you to leave your car in the garage

velib-guy 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!

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