The Cultures of Mobility
What message could a private citizen, an engineer no less, from a small city of a country with barely two million inhabitants send to the Secretary of Transportation of the United States of America? Happily, there is more to transport and social policy than mere size. So if you decide to continue reading, I may have a modest message for you after all.
This evening, 6 February 2009, an interesting event will take place in my city. A thematic event has been organized, dedicated to the “Culture of Mobility”. In this we want to show (again) at the culture of mobility and the culture of the city are one and the same.
Maribor, my beautiful city, the second-largest in Slovenia, is to become the cultural capital of Europe in 2012. Today’s event will start with a documentary film to open up the perspectives of transportation decision-makers in the city of New York, “Contested Streets: a Mobility Tour of Four Great World Cities”. “Contested” takes its point of departure the old habit of automatically building new infrastructure for cars every time a traffic problem arose. The world-famous and world-practiced “forecast and build” culture
– – – – – – – – > Working draft update of November. To be finalized over month.
WORLD STREETS is betting its future on the coming immediate-term transition period led by certain ambitious, responsible cities, nations, organizations and citizens in different parts of the world to come together to break the downward pattern of ever-increasing climate stress — and before the challenge to plan and execute highly aggressive near-term initiatives aimed at sharply cutting greenhouse gas emissions from the mobility sector. And doing all this while working with proven tools, policies and strategies that harness cost-effective, readily available, measures, technologies, operational and management competence. And our job is to support them as best we can.
What many people call “transportation” . . is at its very essence not about road or bridges, nor vehicles or technology, and not even about money. Above all it is about people, their needs, fears, desires and the decisions they make. And the backdrop — real and mental — against which they make those decision. The transport planner needs to know more them and take this knowledge into the center of the planning and policy process. What makes them tick, individually and collectively. What do they want and what they are likely to resist. And people, as we all know, are intensely complicated, personal and generally change-resistant. .But if we take the time and care we can start to understand them, at least a bit better. Which is a start.
To understand how we get the future that our children need, want and deserve, we are obliged to challenge our usual ways of thinking, seeing, reacting, deciding, and doing. Here are some wise reminders worth pondering as we look to a different future. (Get yourself a comfortable chair; to be read slowly and pensively ; – )
An interview with Fritjof Capra, the founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy, about the emergence of systems thinking, the root causes of today’s social and environmental problems, and how to change the system itself. Fritjof Capra is a best-selling writer and leading systems thinker and author of The Systems View of Life . Here you will find some extracts of Marjorie Kelly’s interviews Capra of about the emergence of systems thinking and what lessons it has to offer in a world of convergent crises. Full article at https://greattransition.org/publication/systems-thinking-and-system-change
MK: Your new book, The Systems View of Life, provides an overview of systems thinking for those in a broad range of professions, from economics and politics to medicine, psychology, and law. Why do you see systems thinking as valuable in so many different settings?
FC: Systems thinking is relevant to all professions and academic disciplines that deal with life in one way or another—with living organisms, social systems, or ecosystems. Systems thinking is inherently multidisciplinary and I hope our textbook will help to create a common language for students of all disciplines.
(Relax. It’s the weekend. And nothing to do with climate change of course. Of course)
– Edgar Allan Poe (Boston, 1842)
THE “Red Death” had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal –the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.
But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys.