Another day in morning traffic in Lagos
Stories of New Mobility Projects in Africa: Successes, Failures and Work in Progress
World Streets. Paris. 21 April 2018
Dear African friends and colleagues,
I’m in the process of trying to gather my thoughts on a book bringing together a collection of lively real world stories of attempted new mobility — what I like to think of as “pattern break” – projects that have been carried out in cities and rural areas in a dozen or so African countries. I want to emphasize here the choice of the word “stories” as opposed to when we hear more often in the literature, titles such as “case studies” or “best practices”. I think it is important to try to reach in and understand (Anyway, I do not believe in the concept of “best practices”, and tend to prefer the less blatant wording of better practices.)
Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
– William Butler Yeats
World Streets has from the beginning been intended to serve as a journal of record of the difficult world wide push to sustainable transport and sustainable cities, and as a partner, free resource and toolkit for concerned citizens and decision makers as they try to sort their way through the complexity and contradictions of bringing sustainable transport to our cities and their hard to serve hinterlands. Many of our seven thousand-plus signed-in readers will for the most part keep their eye on the latest articles as they appear.
But there are others — students, educators, researchers, consultants, those working in concerned government agencies, transporters and other suppliers to the sector, city planners, activists, civil society, journalists, citizens looking for international background on specific topics — who need to have quick access to what the site has to offer. Which, it turns out, is quite a lot. Let’s have a look.
Getting around here
The above map reports the locations of the 561 readers checking into World Streets over the last five days. (Of our total 7,280 registered readers as of this date.)
But what about them? Where are they coming from? And what do they read? Let’s have a look.
Few things are more frustrating in this needful world than to see useful ideas and hard work ending up anonymously cloistered on some distant dusty shelf, real or virtual, and not be accessible to people and groups who could put them to good work, especially at a time of crisis as that we are living through right now. This was one of the challenges we faced at World Streets from the very beginning. How to keep all these good ideas and useful tools alive and available beyond the day on which they were first published and made known to the world.
19 March 2018. University of Chicago Center in Paris
ICoRSI 19 March Symposium Programme
The one day symposium is being sponsored by the Independent Council for Road Safety International (www.icorsi.org) when fourteen papers will be presented to focus on important theoretical and practical issues concerning road safety around the world. The papers have been specially prepared for wider dissemination after discussion at this symposium. A brochure including the details of the programme is attached.
The symposium should be of special interest to researchers and policy makers working on critical road safety issues internationally.
For general background on ICoRSI see https://www.icorsi.org. For full program: https://goo.gl/77WNLD
The presentations at the symposium will be recorded and used for public information. The papers presented at the ICoRSI International Symposium Road Safety Around the World: Future Concerns may be published separately after discussion at the symposium.
The mobility/growth paradigm (or the mobility complex)
– By John Whitelegg, extract from his book MOBILITY. A New Urban Design and Transport Planning Philosophy for a Sustainable Future, Chapters 2 and 3. For more on the New Mobility Master Class program click here – https://goo.gl/BB2pPE
Mobility is most commonly measured, if at all, as total distance travelled per annum per capita in kilometres and/or total distance travelled per day per capita. There are other important dimensions e.g. number of trips made per day or number of destinations that can be accessed by different modes of transport in a defined unit of time but these are not generally measured in a systematic way or included in data sets. Usually mobility is not defined. It has become a rather vague concept associated with quality of life or progress and it is invoked as a “good thing” and something that should be increased. This is very clear in most national transport policies and at the European level where major transport policies and funding mechanisms are increasingly framed.
A recent EU research and development document (European Commission 2013a) begins with the main heading “Mobility for growth.” It does not define mobility. The document is an undiluted manifesto accepting and promoting the growth of mobility and advocating the importance of this growth for the success of wider economic policy objectives, asserting the unquestioned importance of endless economic growth and ignoring the voluminous literature on the impossibility of endless economic growth and of ecological and resource limits to growth (Douthwaite, 1992, Schneidewind, 2014).