Poynton Regenerated: A transformative Shared Space project

The regeneration of Poynton Town Centre and its high street, Park Lane, involved a bold approach to the busy traffic intersection in Fountain Place. Martin Cassini’s short film documents the background to the project, and the dramatic changes in the fortunes of Poynton, and explores the implications for other towns and cities struggling to cope with the impact of traffic.

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Homo Urbanus

man sleeping under sidewalk - top half only

Photographer unknown but picture relayed by Micha Walter, who writes (in German, of which  this is the Google translation):

“Homo urbanus” is the latest scientific findings. forerunner of modern “homo economicus”, considered the most radical species of hominid

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Did someone say, White Chairs?

amsterdam white chairsDuring Rotterdam’s public art festival Wereld van Witte de With, urbanism office M.E.S.T. reanimated this idea. But instead of bikes, the designers left 350 white chairs in public space in Rotterdam. The chairs served as a terrace for all the decentralized performances, and fed a discussion about public space and ownership at the same time. People were allowed to use the white chairs freely and to take them to any other location as long as they remained part of public space. The white chairs were slowly spread across the city. According to the festival organization, they were even spotted at the Central Station of Leiden, a town somewhere between Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Continue reading

Behind the Rape in the Bus

Over at India Streets today – http://www.facebook.com/IndiaStreets – the india bus crowdingdistinguished Indian journalist and writer, Vidyadhar Date, posts an article entitled “Rosa Parks, The Power of Resistance and the Rape In The Bus In Delhi”. He makes a point which I believe is central to understanding  a great part of both (a) the what and (b) the why of this tragic event in Delhi, when he writes: Continue reading

Behind the Rape in the Bus

2013 Book announcement: NO (MORE) EXCUSES

Memorandum:  First background on book in process to appear end-2013.

 No ExcuseS, Sir! 

(A tale of cities, indolence, complexity and finally . . .   simplicity)

Introduction: No Excuses is a book  in progress by Eric Britton about cities and people, and how we get around in our day-to-day lives.  It is about the failure of a generation — but also how with a little imagination and a lot of willpower we can do it better on all scores, and in a way that is fairer for all.

uk-bus-queue-no excusesIf we say it is about cities and not transport, it is because the focus is not on the usual  transport infrastructure, technology or big investments of hard-earned taxpayer money. That is the old way of looking at it, the mindset that effectively dominated transport policy and practice in the 20th century and which is just starting  to lose its hold today.  Good things are happening but still in far too few places. These are the places and projects, and the people and strategies, that No Excuses is all about. Continue reading

NEW MOBILITY AGENDA/GETTING AROUND

WEB, BLOGS & SUPPORTING SOCIAL MEDIA

When it comes to the multiplicity of internet sites and media that together make up the at-times somewhat labyrinthine New Mobility Agenda, there is a certain if not always immediately app[rent underlying logic in our gameplan.  Here in summary how things look today in the hope that it will help you make better use of the considerable potential of these tools. in your work. Continue reading

World Streets on Facebook (Check it out)

Why consider joining one or more of these focus groups on Facebook?  Well, because for better of worse social media are here to stay, and warts and all Facebook definitely has its uses — as we are showing with these fora.  So put aside your reservations and at least check in and have a look for yourself. (And if you don’t want to sign in as an identifiable human being, this is no problem. Sign in as your dog (even if you don’t have one) and no one will be the wiser for it.)

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Weekend musing: Lewis Mumford on the city, in 1963. (Le plus ça change)

This is not the first time anyone addressed these themes.  In the City in History, a classic text of urban design. Mumford urged in 1963 that technology achieves a balance with nature and hoped for a rediscovery of urban principles that emphasised humanity’s organic relationship to its environment. Forty-five years on, the film clips look incredibly old and the message delivered in a rather morbid and factious manner (to quote Jane Jacobs), with a slightly ‘Outer Limits’ or ‘Twilight Zone’ ambience. Yet some of the key ideas promoted by Mumford have increasing resonance with the sustainability and green agenda of the early 21st century. In the increasingly praxis orientated and commodified world of urban design, whether anyone is listening or not is another matter.

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Groningen: The quiet example

What? You know all about transport in cities and you have never heard of Groningen? Well, check out this : an unexpected street interview in Groningen, a slice of life as filmed by our old friend and transport innovating colleague Robert Stussi. He has titled it: “A Homage to Hans Monderman”. Hear, hear! Continue reading

Whenever I hear the word revolver . . . I reach for my culture.

We have long-held a theory at the New Mobility Agenda that you can never tell where the next good idea is going to come from. So you really do have to keep your eyes, ears and minds wide open, and learn where you can, where you can, from whom you can. For example, Volkswagen in the New Mobility Agenda? Well, what not? Let’s show you one great idea that you may not have seen the first time around and that we have just this morning plucked out from our archives.
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Honk! Getting off the ox (when it comes to cars and cities).

There is a bit of ancient Hindu  wisdom that goes, roughly: How can a man riding an ox and looking for an ox, ever find the ox.  The answer being of course, only when he gets off the ox. Thus it is in life, but for many of us it is somewhere between hard and impossible to ever get off the ox of our perceptions and set values. But there are, thankfully, creative people who can do this.

Here by way of a quick warm-up is one quick demonstration of this off-the-ox approach from the lively mind of Jean Tinguely of his Cyclograveur, in short a bicycle that, as you pant and pedal, paints beautiful (?!?) pictures. And now t for your weekend reading pleasure let’s have a look at what our friends over at Streetsblog have just reported on another more timely off-the-ox transportation project, this time by the ever-ingenious Chris Burden with his post-Tinguely road-wrapping machine, Metropolis II.  Off we go. Continue reading

John W. Verity on New Scare City

It’s a fictional streetscape we wander, here, a metropolis whose buildings, boulevards, and back alleys are in a constant state of flux. This is every place, and yet, no place at all – a city of dreams and a dream of a city. Continue reading

A Sustainable Transportation Clean Air Media Cornucopia

From the website of the Clean Air Institute, you have here for your convenient consultation more than 50 audio presentations made during their May 2011 Conference for Sustainable Transportation, Air Quality and Climate Change held in Rosario Argentia. They report that this collection is the largest online collection of audio presentations in Spanish on transportation issues, air quality and climate change. You can access it in Spanish here. And in English, a useable (to us) Google translate version here . Continue reading

Towards Carfree Cities X: What happened in Guadalajara from 3 to 10 September 2011?

From the Editor’s Desk:
This year’s World Carfree Network Conference was organized by the dynamic and fast growing city of Guadalajara, under the title Towards Carfree Cities (Hacia ciudades libres de autos), and with the support and management of two local activist groups, Ciudad Para Todos and GDL en Bici. I was invited to provide the opening keynote address on the topic of “Better Cities with a Lot Fewer Cars”, to kick off a weeklong festival of events, discussions, and presentations in the context of their program.  My chosen themes were (a) deep democracy and (b) the need for immediate action.  I was wonderfully received and learned a lot during my busy week with them. Continue reading

What about using our heads (for a change)?

At the end of the day our transport sector, no matter where it is, is shaped by the perceptions of the main players, the opportunists, planners, decision makers and the public of what is there and what is it that people want and need. And if it is a mess in your country or city,well that’s because these perceptions are simply not clear enough. Read what Nate Sliver of the New York Times has to say when there is a collision between the experts and common sense on one much discussed transportation topic. Interesting things happen when smart people from the outside poke their noses into the transportation box. As we say: “you never know where the next good idea is going to come from”. Continue reading

Family Mouse moves ahead on fifty language worldwide Odyssey

Today we want to tell you about a bit more concerning progress on a collaborative international project on a children’s book exactly on our subject. Back in mid March, we announced our intention to produce a 2011  edition of this successful  children’s book, but this time in (our target) fifty language editions. Read on to see where things stand today. All the more  if any of you out there might be interested in lending a hand so that we can create handsome print and electronic versions for worldwide distribution and use. – Alvin reports from Paris Continue reading