World Streets launches Collaborative Problem-Solving Initiative: Climate/Emergency Cities/Mobility Equity/Women Streets/Cars Time/Space Private/Shared Vision/Strategy Action/Manage

Mixed micro traffic scooter bike ped

– – – – – –  > Working draft of 1 May 2020

WORLD STREETS is betting its future on the coming immediate-term transition 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. Our job is to support them as best we can.

CONTEXT/KEYWORDS:: Climate/Emergency  Cities/Mobility  Vision/Strategy  Streets/Cars  Time/Space  Private/Shared  Equity/Women  Action/Manage

    • You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.  – Buckminster Fuller

THE 2020 FIVE PERCENT CLIMATE/MOBILITY CHALLENGE

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Op-Ed: Coronavirus has exposed the fragility of auto-centric cities

A bus with a bike rack alongside cars on road in Boston, Mass.

  ShutterstockMikeDotta            [With kind thanks to the author, Ben Holland  of the Rocky Mountain Institute – @BenHollandATX and the publisher, Green Biz for this excellent overview.:  See https://bit.ly/3bzrpTe for full text.  

The coronavirus has exposed the ills of continued automobile-centric urban planning practices that adversely impact equity, health and the climate. Those of us who are working from home, own an automobile and can conveniently make grocery runs may overlook the fact that many in this country are not so lucky. Many households rely on public transit systems that are struggling to provide service, or they may bear high transportation costs exacerbated by a lack of access to the most critical of needs.

No technological solution will solve the systemic problems with our urban land use and transportation policies. We simply need to commit to the development of complete neighborhoods and communities that ensure access to food, healthcare, education and jobs — without relying on personal vehicles.

In the midst of this crisis, many are pointing to the outbreak of COVID-19 in urban centers such as New York City to support anti-density arguments. This sentiment is nothing new in the environmental community, much of which grew out of anti-development advocacy of the 1970s and ’80s. But the world is a different place, and it’s time for the environmental community to push back on these arguments.

After all, compact and mixed-use neighborhoods — which can include medium or “gentle” density levels — are, by nature, resilient and energy efficient. Barring supply chain collapse, they far outperform suburban communities in their access to food and other critical needs during crises such as the one we are experiencing.

Why then, do we continue to outlaw this resiliency in most of our cities?

 

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A COMPENDIUM OF ONE HUNDRED BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER MEASURES YOUR CITY COULD START TO IMPLEMENT TOMORROW MORNING TO SAVE THE PLANET . . . cut GHG emissions, get people to work on time, reduce traffic accidents, save lives, clear the air, improve health, strengthen the economy, create a sense of community and improve accessibility, mobility and quality of life for all.

FB eric escooter traffic eifel towerWe often hear that sustainable transportation reform  is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city  And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.

To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all.  These approaches are not just “nice ideas”.  They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.

(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)

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‘The Ice Is Leaving’ Climate change is melting glaciers worldwide. Only we can stop it.”

Iceland glacier OK melted

By Katrin Jakobsdottir,  prime minister of Iceland, New York Times of  Aug. 17, 2019

Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland’s sixth-largest glacier, gained worldwide recognition when the volcano lurking under it erupted in 2010. Large levels of volcanic ash caused air travel disruptions in Europe, and news reporters across the world struggled with the difficult pronunciation of Eyjafjallajokull, much to the amusement of us native speakers. A less-known and less-tongue-twisting glacier is Ok, which is on a mountaintop in Western Iceland.

But Ok is no longer a glacier.

The ice field that covered the mountain in 1900 — close to six square miles — has now been replaced by a crater lake. It is certainly beautiful, surrounded by patchy snowfields, and is now the highest lake in Iceland. But that beauty quickly fades in the eyes of anyone who knows what was there before and why it is no longer there. Ok’s disappearance is yet another testimony of irreversible global climate change.

# # #

*  Article continues at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/17/opinion/iceland-glacier-climate-change.html

What is a Transport User Group? (And why are they so important for your city)

spain barclona large public meeting on planningWorld Streets has committed to carry out a series of articles, in cooperation with informed on-the-spot collaborators, looking into various aspects of transport user groups, on the grounds that they are increasingly emerging  in many cities around the world as important potential players in the uphill struggle to sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives.

Throughout  most of the 20th century transportation decisions were strictly made by government administrations and elected politicians, more often than not in cooperation with interests representing industrial and financial partners supplying infrastructure, vehicles, electronics and services. In most places these were closed loops in which the public was occasionally, at best, invited to approach the table and then asked to share their views on the specifics alternative proposals as prepared and presented by the various administrations and agencies, but for the most part were excluded from the actual planning and decision process. They were at most shadow players.

However this is starting to change, to the extent that in many cities in recent years these groups are increasingly becoming important players in the planning, decision and investment process.

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‘WE’RE DOOMED’ . . . Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention

China Mekong Basin desertification AFP Huang Dinh Nab Le Monde

Let’s see what Dr. Mayer Hillman —  eminent architect, town planner and Senior Fellow Emeritus since 1992 at the Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster where he worked for at least thirty years —   had to offer in an interview that appeared in The Guardian last week.  By Patrick Barkham   Full text with illustrations  at https://bit.ly/2FjpEbI

W’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman with such a  beaming smile that it takes a moment for the words to sink in. “The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.”

Hillman, an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, does say so. His bleak forecast of the consequence of runaway climate change, he says without fanfare, is his “last will and testament”. His last intervention in public life. “I’m not going to write anymore because there’s nothing more that can be said,” he says when I first hear him speak to a stunned audience at the University of East Anglia late last year.

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A COMPENDIUM OF BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER MEASURES your city could start to implement tomorrow morning to SAVE THE PLANET . . . cut GHG emissions, get people to work on time, reduce traffic accidents, save lives, clear the air, improve health, strengthen the economy, and improve accessability, mobility and quality of life for all.

Climate Audit - Paris smog EB blue shirt

We often hear that transportation reform  is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city  And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.

To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all.  These approaches are not just “nice ideas”.  They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.

(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)

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The Rough Road to Climate Protection and Sustainable Mobility: Values, priorities, behavior and, finally, understanding people (and ourselves)

indonesia-jakarta-traffic-on-following-monday

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.

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A COMPENDIUM OF ONE HUNDRED BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER MEASURES YOUR CITY COULD START TO IMPLEMENT TOMORROW MORNING TO SAVE THE PLANET . . . cut GHG emissions, get people to work on time, reduce traffic accidents, save lives, clear the air, improve health, create a sense of community, strengthen the economy, and improve accessibility, mobility and quality of life for all.

FB eric escooter traffic eifel towerWe often hear that transportation reform  is going to require massive public investments, large construction projects, elaborate technology deployments, and above all and by their very nature are going to take a long time before yielding significant results. This is quite simply not true. This approach, common in the last century and often associated with the “American transportation model”, no longer has its place in a competitive, efficient, democratic city  And we can start tomorrow, if we chose to.

To get a feel for this transformative learning reality let’s start with a quick look at a first lot of ideas for Slow Street Architecture as a major means for reducing traffic related nuisances, accident prevention and improving quality of life for all.  These approaches are not just “nice ideas”.  They have proven their merit and effectiveness in hundreds of cities around the world. There is no good reason that they cannot do the same in your city. Starting tomorrow morning.

(For further background on external sources feeding this listing, see Sources and Clues section below.)

Continue reading

Op-Ed: Why Electric Scooters Companies Are Getting Serious About Safety

FB- active mobility scooter

Lime has joined Bird in establishing a safety advisory board tasked with helping the e-scooter industry shape local regulations—and shake its risky reputation.

Lime, the micromobility company that’s flooded the streets of more than 100 cities around the world with fleets of green-and-white electric scooters, launched a Public Policy and Safety Advisory Board last week. The group, which convened for the first time at a safety summit in San Francisco, is tasked with determining what research and policy initiatives to pursue, what regulations to advocate for, and how to generally smooth the company’s sometimes-bumpy relationships with cities, riders, and riders-to-be.

Lime’s announcement reflects a growing acknowledgement within the e-scooter rental industry that safety concerns present a major barrier to mass adoption.
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Op-Ed: “After 25 years of failure, we should abandon the UNFCCC”

  • Published Climate Change News on 27/03/2019,  Because of its importance, we reproduce it here in its entirety. With thanks.

Emissions are at record levels and the international  treaty designed  to rein them  in cannot  drive action.   It is time for new ideas to be explored

“While we’ve made enormous progress in 25 years, the world is still running behind climate change.”

“Today, the urgency to address climate change has never been greater. But because of the work begun 25 years ago, we are also better coordinated to take it on. We have the Paris Agreement, and we have the guidelines strengthening that agreement. What we need now are results.”

This is a summary of the statement that Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), put out on the occasion to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the UNFCCC.

While I agree with the sentiments above, especially the urgency to address climate change, I disagree with two points: one, the progress made by the UNFCCC so far and two, the potential of the UNFCCC to deliver results in the future.

Leaders told to bring plans, not speeches to UN climate summit

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COP15 2009: CLIMATE IS THE PORTAL TO NEW MOBILITY (Letter to the organizers)

Message from World Streets to the Copenhagen Summit: The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference
(Stand back Ladies. Let the men take care of this. Oops? )

Letter from the Editor: ON THE RUN-UP TO COPENHAGEN AND COP15

EcoPlan International 
8 rue Joseph Bara
75006 Paris France

27 September 2009

Dear Colleagues,

The climate agenda is getting high political and media attention worldwide, and there are many important events scheduled for the months immediately ahead. That is good. But in our view the agenda for sustainable transport system reform at all levels is timid, incoherent and in large part irrelevant given the real priorities. Well, what is relevant then? How can we get the level of innovation and reform that is going to be critical in the years immediately ahead?

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THE 2020 FIVE PERCENT EMERGENCY CHALLENGE: (Cross-cutting issues, measures, sources & startup strategies)

Executive Summary:

QUESTION: Is it going to be possible to cut greenhouse gas emissions resulting from day to day transport in your city by five percent next year?

RESPONSE: Yes *

___________________________________

* But you have to be very smart

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?  (Attributed to A. Einstein)

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Op-Ed: To Fight Climate Change, Think Politics First, and Often

Protest Green New Deal, San Fran - Photo Peg Hunter via Flickr CC

By Nathan Lobel, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment|Feb. 26, 2019

In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that we have little more than a decade to stave off climate catastrophe. Avoiding such a fate, the panel warned, “would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems… unprecedented in terms of scale.”

Punctuating a year of natural and political climate-related disasters, the IPCC report sparked renewed calls for action. Economists, environmentalists, and policy elites took to the nation’s opinion pages with a common prescription: to fight climate change, Congress should put a price on carbon, thus “internalizing” the social cost of fossil fuel consumption.

From one perspective, converging on carbon pricing makes lots of sense — after all, carbon prices are often thought to be the most efficient means to mitigate climate change. But, despite its theoretical utility, carbon pricing has also struggled to deliver the real and drastic emissions reductions that we so desperately need.

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THE FIVE PERCENT CHALLENGE (continued)

 * * Very rough first draft.  Requiring careful rewrite for content and clarity.   * *

CLIMATE/NEW MOBILITY  2019-2020 EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?  (Attributed to A. Einstein)

 

Working Notes: Building Blocks:

The sources,  references and links that follow here – we call them building blocks or parts of the much larger puzzle – are presented here in first working draft form and are intended to be useful to inform and guide students, researchers, concerned citizens and others interested in getting up to speed on the wide range of challenging topics that need to be brought in to the analysis and eventual work plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the local transport sector by a radical target and in a single year . These references include a considerable variety of issues, hints and developments (examples, free public transport, economic levers, value capture, full gender parity, etc., etc.) which have important roles to play in this wholesale reconstruction of the new mobility ecosystem.

WORLD CLIMATE EMERGENCY

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YOUR INVITATION: WORLD STREETS 2020 OPEN COLLABORATIVE CLIMATE/MOBILITY CHALLENGE

. . . invitation to join an open collaborative action plan to cut GHG emissions from mobility sector in cities by 5% starting in 2020.

 “You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

Climate/Space/Mobility Action Plan: 2020

EXEC SUM: This open collaborative project just getting underway on World Streets aims to demonstrate how cities can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the mobility sector by at least five percent in the first year after startup. And this by working from a well-prepared two-pronged push and pull strategy based on a combination of (a) sharp VKT  reductions  (Vehicle Kilometers Traveled) and (b) an expanding ecosystem of Better Choices while working with proven, cost-effective, available technologies and processes.

The project aims to get sharp, measurable results in short time with an approach that is, we argue, Better, Faster and Cheaper — and through this basically reshaping the city’s basic mobility ecosystem.   This bold initiative is only possible with very strong leadership and commitment, high technical competence, and an exceptional ability to  communicate and engage the population in a fully equitable and  positive manner.

COLLABORATIVE STARTUP: Now seeking critical feedback on working materials and proposals, collaborators, presentation opportunities, partners and eventual demonstration projects and sponsors.

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17 plus 1 reasons why I am prudently optimistic about the Climate/Mobility Transition for 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  trends, 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.

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INNOVATION: FROM OPEN DATA TO A NEW ECOSYSTEM FOR MOBILITY AND CLIMATE.

Transport/mobility is an ecosystem. There is the one we have.  And perhaps the one we want.

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