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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Soft techniques in martial arts (and good governance)

woman soft martial artsAn important element of our Better Choices sustainability  strategy is to achieve our carefully-considered objectives for the city, often very demanding, without avoidable social conflicts and divisions into opposing camps.  For that we need to be attentive to soft policy techniques.

Softness is often confused with weakness. But not in the martial arts. The goal of the soft technique is deflecting the attacker’s force to his or her disadvantage, with the defender exerting minimal force. With a soft technique, the defender uses the attacker’s aggressivity, force and momentum against him or her, by leading the attack(er) in a direction to where the defender will be advantageously positioned (tai sabaki) and leaving the attacker off balance; a seamless and to many invisible movement then effects the appropriate soft technique.

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How one lion-hearted Amsterdam inventor gave bike-sharing to the world

luud-white-bike-reproduction-in-museumIn the 1960s, a Dutchman named Luud Schimmelpennink created a ‘”white bike” plan to fight against harmful pollution and cars. His invention has changed public transportation around the world. So why did his bicycle-loving home city never embrace it?

 

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

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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.

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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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