Dear African friends and colleagues,
I’m in the process of trying to gather my thoughts on a book bringing together a collection of lively real world stories of attempted new mobility — what I like to think of as “pattern break”) – projects that have been carried out in cities and areas in a dozen or so African countries. I want to emphasize here the choice of the word “stories” as opposed to when we hear more often in the literature, titles such as “case studies” or “best practices”. I think it is important to try to reach in and understand (Anyway, I do not believe in the concept of “best practices”, and tend to prefer the less blatant wording of better practices.)
A recent discussion has come up in the context of our work program concerning your editor’s long-standing unwillingness to hop on a plane, travel great distances to make a “cameo appearance”, and then scurry back to his burrow in Paris. Since 1995 we have tried hard to maintain a consistent policy about this kind of travel, which you can find here at “Our Personal Choices — and Our (un)Sustainable Lives“. However this does not mean that it is impossible to have some form of lively, “hot” presentation and interaction on topics of high mutual interest without that dreaded trip to the airport. With a bit of preparation and at low cost, we can do an excellent job at creating a lively and engaging interactive low-carbon environment. Let’s have look. Continue reading
– SHARING, when it comes to transport, can work in many ways.
Introduction: I am hard at work on a book under the title Better Choices: Bringing Sustainable Mobility to Smaller Asian Cities, as described in the attached working note. Better Choices aims to inform and support planners, policymakers, civil society and others who must face the challenges of what is in effect a whole new way of thinking about transport in cities.
After numerous interviews and exchanges, it occurred to me that while we now have great search engines such as Google that can bring the world and all its complexity and crushing detail to our doorstep, in situations like this we need something more focused, concise and immediately useful by way of reference materials, particularly in areas and situations in which the local city team may not have deep competence. It’s good of course to have this level of help in print between the covers of a book, but better yet if it can be online, continuously updated, free and carefully made.
A GREAT IDEA HAS WINGS:
HERE’S A NUMBER LUUD CAME UP WITH IN 1967 (that it took the world a full generation to understand and finally equal).
The number was 10,000.
(But it was not only a number — it was at its base a wonderful, original and city-transforming, environmental and life quality concept.)
This was the number of white bicycles that Mr. Schimmelpennink proposed in his public bike master plan for Amsterdam in 1967. (Proposal rejected by the municipal council.)
After that radio silence on the post-White Bike front for seven years. It took until 1974 for the first new public bike project when the city of La Rochelle launched a free bike-sharing programme, Vélos Jaunes (Yellow Bikes). Followed at first slowly, cautiously but then increasingly with a mounting wave of tidy new projects, most in Europe, most successful, and almost all of them small.
– Paul Barter, Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
* Latest online version at https://goo.gl/SWvxvE.)
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.