An even dozen hard facts that politicians, administrators and engineers are finding it very hard to accept – but without which they will never be able to lead the transition to sustainable mobility and a sustainable city.
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.
If you get it, New Mobility policy reform is a no-brainer. However, while the New Mobility Agenda is a great starting place, it is not going to get the job somehow miraculously done just because it is the only game in town when it comes to sustainable transport. There is plenty of competition for your thin wallet, all that space on the street, and especially for that space between our ears. We have a few potential sticking points here that need to be overcome first.
Penang is not the first small city in the world faced with a sudden ambition for a monorail. But THREE monorails. Woah! So to put this into perspective we thought it might be useful to report on the discussions in another place and another, the city of Springfield in the USA, the home of the Simpsons, models off ecology. A great opportunity to learn from the experience of others. Let’s have a look.
This is one of those special times for Malaysia when change and ideas are most welcome. So there is hope and opportunity. And it is one of those special times when change, even paradigm shifts are possible, and local governments given a new and more central place in the lives of our citizens. If we can together constructively, creatively and systematically build and add to the many promising initiatives , and if civic engagement leads an upsurge of citizen interest, we will surely see the emergence of an efficient, effective, equitable, democratic local government system in Malaysia that is socially, ecologically and economically sustainable. And make a marked improvement in the quality of life of all Malaysians.
* Anwar Fazal, Penang. In Malaysiakini, 12 April 2001
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 5 of the UN says: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. All of the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals sound all-encompassing and too lofty to be pursued in a realistic manner. That, however, is the idea. The SDGs are value-pillars which guide planners while they go about their mundane tasks of drawing up maps and fighting resource crunches. Fortunately, the New Urban Agenda adopted in Habitat III breaks down these goals into sub-topics that people can wrap their heads around and know how to create a path towards achieving that utopian ideal.
– By Joshua Woo . In Penang Monthly, October 2016. http://penangmonthly.com/better-cheaper-faster-really/
This article by Mr. Joshua Woo, Special Officer to Member of Parliament of Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia provides a critical analysis of two radically different, hotly contested approaches to sustainable transport planning and policy for the state of Penang, Malaysia. Readers not familiar with these challenges and critical differences in Penang are invited to consult the background postings here: (a) Penang Transport Master Plan; (b) Penang – A Sustainable Transport Primer for a Battle of Ideas ;and (c) The NGO Challenge, and (d) State Government response to NGOs. You may also find good value in a three minute video which provides a very good, and very funny synopsis of the process currently underway: (e) The Three Minute Summary . * Still hungry for more from all sides: work your way down the right hand menu to this site.