Twelve Principles for Healthy and Sustainable Places

In support of project underway of United Nations University’s Global Health Institute

UN Urban thinkers Campus

  1. COHABIT – Design with nature. Human and ecosystem health stand centre stage in good place design. If it is good for our small planet, we are well on the way to healthy and sustainable places, and sustainable lives. Sustainability and sharing is a defining context!  It changes everything.
  1. SENSES – Humans like all animals are intimately connected to place through our senses – hearing, touch, smell, taste and sight. And a sense of compassion. Beautiful, vibrant and culturally distinct places ignite the senses, bringing a feeling of wellbeing, security, creativity and generosity of spirit.
  1. COMPLEXITY – Natural, economic and cultural diversity make for complex but equally interesting and resilient places. So forget everything you think you know. Welcome chaos and complexity as a necessary first step in the solution process. Engage with diverse ideas, cultures and approaches.
  1. OPPORTUNITY – Given the level, dynamics and sheer overwhelming complexity of the challenges, we will not solve 21st century challenges with measures based on the old paradigms. So much has changed in terms of imagination, technologies and the way we use them. So prepare to be very different.
  1. PROXIMITY – Physical activity, social connection and healthy eating are fostered through proximity, and natural and built environments that are designed to connect, respect and protect. Retire distance, speed and indifference. Replace with proximity, safety and neighborliness.
  1. EQUITY – Justice and equity are vibrant beacons for health, democracy and development in human settlements. Burdens of climate change and unsustainable development must not be carried by the most vulnerable citizens, cities and countries.
  1. DEMOCRACY – Good governance holds the key to the future of human settlements. Citizens cannot be not passive spectators. There is more to democracy than occasional elections. Mobilise civil society in all its diversity and differences around big questions and strive for local answers.
  1. PARITY – Sustainability cannot be planned, decided and administered by a minority. Daily life needs and perceptions of women differ in many ways. The only path to planning and implementing sustainable, efficient and just communities is to ensure full gender parity in all decision fora.   
  1. RESISTANCE– Most human beings are change-averse and ready to challenge anything they perceive see as invasions in any part of their daily lives. So we must anticipate this from the beginning and have a multi-level strategy which takes this into account from the beginning. 
  1. TIMEMake time our ally. We need to be very clever in the many ways that we can put it to work for our good cause. We can knit together the strands of our solution, putting time on our side 
  1. COLLABORATION By creating and pushing to their limit flat, open, citizen peer knowledge networks we enter a new age of problem solving capabilities far beyond anything available to us in the past. (Which is to say, we have a chance!) 
  1. NEVER GIVE UP

[1] Revised working draft by Eric Britton submitted in response to a request from an on-going research project of the United Nations University’s  Global Health Institute (http://iigh.unu.edu/) that is setting out Principles of Healthy and Sustainable Places. In support of their Health and Wellbeing in the City We Need symposium to meet in Kuching, Malaysia from January 24-27, 2016  –  http://unhabitat.org/urbanthinkers/ for more.

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About the author:

Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is a sustainability activist, Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion in Paris, and managing director of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. His latest work focuses on the subject of equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions and find practical solutions to urging climate, mobility, life quality and job creation issues. Founding editor of World Streets and the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice, his forthcoming book, “Contradictions: Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities”, is being presented, discussed and critiqued in a series of international conferences, master classes, peer reviews and media events in Asia, Europe and Africa over 2016. - - > More: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7

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Bicycle Helmet discussions warm up in Sustainable Penang WhatsApp forum

4 Feb. 2016. https://web.whatsapp.com/-Sustainable Penang

11:31. Lim Thean-heng (LTH, Site initiator). Shares a picture of Mayor Enrique Peñalosa of Bogotá on a bike.

enrique penalosa on bike - 211:59. Britton (EB):

To draw your attention to one small detail in the photo of Mayor Enrique Peñalosa of Bogotá on a bike. He is an everyday city cyclist, and like the vast majority of such cyclists in cities with good bike policies, he is not wearing a helmet. That means he perceives cycling in his city as  safe enough not to have to wear a helmet.

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Penang Road Safety Plan 2014 – 2020: 2015 results

Penang PROF. DR. AHMAD FARHAN SADULLAHThe following report on road safety in Penang was posted on 24 January 2016 on our joint WhatsApp Sustainable Penang  site by Prof. Dr. Ahmad Farhan Mohd Sadullah, Professor in Transport Studies at the School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Sains Malaysia. He was Director-General of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (MIROS) between 2008 and 2011, and was critical behind many road safety strategies of the country

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Sustainable Penang: Additional “background information reports” needed to support 2016 Master Plan rethink

brain2For the working purpose of this collaborate rethinking of transport policy and planning in Penang, we have now placed on line the first six main volumes that constitute the bedrock of the 2012/13 Halcrow Consultants series – which you will now find at https://goo.gl/veBcIh.

But the reports also refer in various places to six additional documents that appear to be important and that we will need to be able to access and study in order to interpret and decide about the usefulness of specific elements of the series. These are titled as follows:

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Seventeen plus 1 reasons why I am prudently optimistic about the Sustainability Transition for 2016-2020

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 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.  (Note; this is part of a series of Op-Eds that will continue over the month of January 2016.)

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The Three Worlds of Cycling

finland heslinki nice bike scene traffic
There are three “worlds” of cycling — and perhaps surprisingly they have very little to do with each other.

Two are much appreciated by those who practice them and are quite easy to do.

While the third often appears to be close to impossible. But it is far more important than the rest combined and multiplied by a thousand.

Let’s have a look.

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