We 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.)
Article by Ms. Lea Müller, appearing in the Reykjavik Grapevine of Sept 19, 2019. The article is presented here below, and followed by historical background information and context on the Car Free Days phenomenon in which the city of Reykjavik and Iceland turned out to play a key historic role.
September 19, 2019, Reykjavik
To celebrate the annual Car-Free Day in Iceland, some of the main roads will be closed in the Reykjavík city centre this Sunday, September 22nd. The Reykjavík Mobility Parade will start at 13:00 and move through Miklubraut and Hringbraut to Lækjartorg, where festivities will take place.
Starting in 1996, the Car-Free movement has a long history in Iceland. The idea originated from the Accessible Cities Conference held in Spain two years prior to Iceland’s first festivity and the event has significantly grown in size since. Its main objectives are to promote public transport, bikes and walking and give people a chance to reflect on motorisation and how traffic can be improved in cities.
THE FIVE PERCENT 2020 CLIMATE CHALLENGE
The World Climate Emergency // // The New Mobility Action Plan
You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete. — Buckminster Fuller
Communication to individuals and groups contacting us to express interest in knowing more about the Five Percent Challenge program, cities and projects in 2020
Thank you for your expression of interest in our shared concerns about our cities and our planet. We are honored and look forward to being able to follow progress in your related work and projects as well.
Looking ahead — and just so it is clear — as a result of a vigorous recentering of my priority concerns for 2020 and beyond, I have shifted the totality of my work and engagement to the World Climate Emergency — and the following six key words and references: Climate.Cities.Space.Time.Action.NewMobility.org.
2020 PARTNER SEARCH:
The 2020 project is aiming to network and bring together . . .
The following as used in a master class of a course on sustainable development, democracy and society.
Getting a feel for our challenge — so that we can better understand the main dynamics of the fast evolving climate situation in Iceland.
For those of us who are not necessarily deeply informed about the unfolding climate/mobility emergency situation — and opportunities — in that part of the world, here is one way to dig in to the situation.
–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
Article by Hannah Dines, Extracts Reprinted from The Guardian , 15 October 2019 . Picture – Disabled group being helped by caregivers. Reykjavik, Iceland. Thanks to Alamy.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has done work on gender equality, using “gender focal points”, people who assist in gender-related decisions about the climate. But there isn’t a list of representatives with disabilities, though the outcomes of climate change negotiations will disproportionately affect us. The Paris agreement makes clear its obligation to disability and human rights, but will people with disabilities actually be involved in the discussion?
– – – – – – – – > 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.
The Green Map of Reykjavík is a joint international project of Nature.is, the Green Map® System, the city of Reykjavík and the University of Iceland. The goal of Green Maps all around the world is to make eco-friendly options in the fields of culture, commerce and travel services more visible and accessible to all. Green maps have been developed in over 600 municipalities, cities and neighborhoods in 55 countries. Iceland is the first country which classifies the whole country according to the Green Map system.
The printed edition Green Map of Reykjavík is the first of its kind here in Iceland and is based on the online version Green Map of Iceland here on www.nature.is which covers the whole country of Iceland with over 3.000 registrations in 100 categories.
The Department of Transport and Infrastructure is responsible for preparing and implementing the Transport Policy Plan. Thereafter a fully developed proposal for a Transport Policy Plan is submitted to the Icelandic parliament Althingi for debate in the form of a parliamentary Resolution.
Every day is a perfect occasion for World Streets to announce publicly, loudly and yet once again our firm belief that the most important single thing that our society, our nations and our cities could do to increase the fairness and the effectiveness of our transportation arrangements would be to make it a matter of the law that all decisions determining how taxpayer money is invested in the sector should be decided by councils that respect full gender parity. We invite you to join us in this challenge and make it one of the major themes of sustainable transport policy worldwide in the year immediately ahead.
Sometimes it can be an advantage to be small. You can do things bigger and faster.
Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir in an interview of 25 July 2019 with Ciara Nugent of Time Magazine. See https://time.com/5634790/iceland-prime-minister-climate-change-interview/ for full text. (Thank you Ciara and Time for these extracts .)
One of the only government heads from an environmentalist party, Jakobsdottir wants to make the country a leader in climate action too, with an ambitious plan to make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years before the target set for Iceland’s neighbors in the E.U. “It can be an advantage to be small,” she says. “You can do things bigger and faster. You can actually change everything in a very short time.”
The total contents of World Streets since founding in 2008 are of course also easily available in Icelandic — for those three or four Icelanders who are not totally at ease in English . All they would have to do is call up https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/ and then hit the language link you can see here at top right. Og burt þú ferð.
CLIMATE, SPACE, TIME, MOBILITY,
A quick shot from Reykjavik of a road at the start of a working day
That’s a good part of the challenge. Let’s go to work!
Source: Climate/Action/Plan Creating a New Mobility Ecosystem for Reykjavik 2020
FB Link: https://www.facebook.com/ClimateActionPlan-Creating-a-New-Mobility-Ecosystem-for-Reykjavik-2020-102044774511708/?modal=admin_todo_tour
# # #
Solve this one and you are well on your way.
Greta Thunberg is right on target when she and the School climate strikers say “save the world by changing the rules”.
A LESSON FOR PENANG
The great weakness of the local political establishment to Penang’s transport planning and policy needs is that they have insufficient technical backgrounds and competence to solve the mobility problems the people of Penang . This was made clear by the recommendations of the final Halcrow report in 2013 and nothing has been done since to improve the situation.
There are other more effective approaches to dealing with these problems with a strategy of affordable policies, measures and tools capable of giving swift results and a fraction of the costs of the proposed massive infrastructure program, the PTMP.
Let’s have a look at the Canadian report “Rethinking Malahat Solutions: Or, Why Spend a Billion Dollars if a Five-Million Dollar Solution is Better Overall?” at www.vtpi.org/malahat.pdf
In the small fishing town of Ísafjörður, Iceland, an exciting development in road safety has just popped up – almost literally. A new pedestrian crossing has been painted that appears to be 3D by way of a cleverly-detailed optical illusion.
World 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.
The idea of slowing top speeds on traffic in the city to reduce accidents and achieve other important systemic benefits would seem like a pretty sensible, straightforward and affordable thing to do. For a lot of reasons. Let’s have a look.
* To get going, you may also want to check out our Slow City 2017 Reader and Slow City: Start here.
Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities – policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects.