EARNING A PUBLIC SPACE DIVIDEND IN THE STREETS
– Paul Barter, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, University of Singapore
Abstract: Experiments with shared space or “naked streets” have captured imaginations and considerable media coverage in recent years. Most of the excitement stems from surprise that streets without kerbs, road markings or signage can work well and achieve “safety through uncertainty”. This paper looks at another equally important insight from shared space.
It focuses on a series of innovations that, like shared space, re-arrange the roles of streets in new ways to yield a “dividend” of expanded urban public realm, with little or no loss of transport utility. Such a space dividend should be especially welcome in dense cities that are both congested and short of public space.
What are streets and roadways for? An obvious answer is traffic movement. But that is clearly not the whole story. A second role is to allow the reaching of final destinations— the role we call “access”. Thirdly, streets can be valuable public places in their own right. In addition, moving high-speed motor vehicles differ enormously from movement by low-speed, vulnerable modes such as bicycles. Unfortunately, speedy motor traffic movement and the other roles of streets are in serious conflict. For almost a century, the tension between these roles has been at the heart of debate over street design (Hass-Klau 1990; Jacobs et al. 2002). This article reviews emerging resolutions to this tension.
The Battle for Street Space
This is the second of a two-part article by Charles Komanoff, activist, energy-economist and policy analyst, looking at goals and tools for finding the right strategy for implementing some form of congesting charging measures in New York City’s crowded streets. He invites comment on his proposed “Balance Transportation Analyzer” tool.
Wanted: Crowd-Sourced Transportation Analysis
* by Ethan Goffman. Posted 8th September 2015 in SSPPjournal Sustainability
For the past couple of decades, a small group of thinkers, calling themselves variously ecological economists, degrowthers, and voluntary simplifiers, has undertaken a seemingly quixotic quest against the global obsession with growth for its own sake. They question the idea that increased gross domestic product will invariably help all people regardless of social standing, and question even more the environmental sustainability of limitless growth. A new book, Mobility by John Whitelegg, a British professor of transportation planning and former local government councilor, puts forth a kind of corollary to this thinking, attacking the pursuit of mobility for its own sake.
Important announcement: Mobility has been priced to move. Available in both paper and eBook form for less than USD 10.00. See http://tinyurl.com/zxclcz4
(Thank you John for thinking about students, fund-strapped NGOs and readers in developing, smaller cities with tight budgets.)
Normally your editor tries very hard to keep all postings here focused on the important topics which you will find introduced in our original Mission Statement of 2009, but here exceptionally is a more personal short story which raises some puzzling problems. And I may not be the only one in our extended sustainability family who has run up against this particular weirdness. Continue reading
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.
If 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