Paris has a sustainable transportation strategy. It is working pretty well and they continue to make steady progress on it, though with miles to go before they sleep. What makes Paris particularly interesting and instructive as a real world example is that for many years it did not, and by the early 70s there were first big infrastructure initiatives knocking at the door that would have certainly turned it from being a city for people into a city for cars. And that particular destiny, by the way, was not just a random series of events. It was premeditated, largely shared in policy circles and destined to happen. At the time, in 1974, the Prefect for Paris (Paris did not at that point have its own mayor and hence a focal point and guardian of that special qualities) famously said (in my approximate but not inaccurate memory) “Parisians are born with two legs and four wheels”. Oops!
The Citizen: the missing link in the move to sustainable transport and sustainable cities
On the assumption that your plans may not have you in Brussels on Monday in time to join the meeting, but that you are nonetheless interested to follow the event and what might come out of it, this is an invitation for you to join the event as an “auditor”. In this capacity, all you need to do is sign in here and let us know of your interest. You will then receive the latest version of the brainstorming piece as will be discussed during the peer review session, working notes and observations of the participants, and a copy of the final wrap up report about a week later with, hopefully, a certain number of followup steps or proposals. This will also give you an opportunity for comments and critical views which will be shared with the participants and other auditors (if we have your permssiion to do so).
The purpose of this first exploratory workshop hosted by the European Citizens Mobility Forum (ECMF) is to solicit peer reviews, critical commentary and action recommendations on the part of the expert participants on the ideas and proposals set out for the group by the invited speaker. Observations and recommendations both from the vantage of their specific organizations, and more generally to the ECMF as a major organization responsible for collective land passenger transport. The complete text of this working presentation follows.
[This posting announces a new component of World Streets Battles of Ideas, that was launched yesterday.]
If you wanted to know about the state of play of the sustainable transport revolution in a given country, where do you turn first? Let’s see if we can be of some help with a few suggestions at least to get you going.
Points of Light? World Streets shortlist of outstanding individuals, groups and organizations who are, each in their own way, contributing to showing the way in your country, when it comes to the very difficult up-hill transition from Old Mobility (back when we were fascinated by infrastructure, vehicles and, implicitly, privilege) to New Mobility (a world that favors instead people, access, equity, systemic efficiency and quality of life). Might be an NGO, university or other research program, outstanding city agency, consultant, company, operator, labor union, cooperative, foundation, institution, government agency, technology source, investigative media, active citizens, event, etc. Or a project, exemplary or a failure rich in lessons. Or eventually live linkages to outstanding and useful international and regional cooperative programs.
This section is intended as an international reference set to be useful for researchers, students, the media and for concerned citizens and activists on the lookout for ideas and strategies which can be put to work in their own cities.
The goal is to give our readers a chance to weigh and appreciate the very wide range of ways of thinking, questioning, planning and executing when it comes to how transport in cities is being organized and delivered in different parts of the world. The references you find here are for the most part organized into countries, with the exception of the African continent which is included in its totality as a region that desperately requires more attention because the needs there are so enormous — and the fact that the fit with frugal, sustainable transport strategies simply could not be better.
While you are away from the office and all the pressures of your workplace, here for your after-work reading pleasure are the twenty most read articles to appear in World Streets since opening day in 2009. Quite a varied lot, and when your editor reads them he generally prefers to do so not at a desk but seated comfortably with a tablet or largish window smartphone in hand to take advantage of those unstructured unexpected free moments that can pop up in any day. After all, World Streets is intended for the reflective back of your mind, not the whirring over-charged front.