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.)

Continue reading