The First Car Free Days Challenge: Toledo Spain, October 1994
Short History: Whereas Car Free Days have been organized in cities around the world all over the year for the last two decades, there is inevitably a spate of high activity in the month of September, much of it the result of the European Commission’s continuing commitment to both the concept of Car Free Days and their own European Mobility Week. And each year we here at World Streets dig into our archives and dust off one or two of the classics as a timely reminder of the fact that the Car Free Day concept has been around and doing its bit since the first international announcement and challenge was made in Toledo Spain on 19 October 1994.
Why do we bother to do this year after year? After all, there is copious documentation and background available at a click, as a quick tour of Google of those three little words yields somewhat more than 55,000 entries, including a fair if distinctly uneven introduction in the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car-Free_Days. The problem is that most of this material seriously misses the point, and as a result often handicaps cities and groups wishing to organize a Day (a week or month close) to underestimate potential of this approach. The trick is that all of this is quite a simple as it may at first glance appear.
To this end, here we are once again minding the store with the original 1994 article announcing the concept, along with several others from our archives which would appear here in the coming days. A general reference which the reader may find of use is the general introduction which appears here – https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/car-free-days/. You will find at the end of this reposting, three separate annexes which provide supplemental background on (Annex A) New Mobility – 1988-1994 Program Summary; (B) Other Tools to Get the Job Done; and (C) a listing of more recent references.
– Eric Britton, ISG, Paris, 15 November 2017.
An Open Collaborative Policy Research Program
Making some progress in exploring the Circular Economy/Public Policy interface, in the context of our master classes and advisory program on Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy. Here is how things are starting to shape up at this still early point.
Events: Getting ready for Taiwan 2017 Collaborative Mission
This year’s program combines site visits, brainstorming sessions, conferences, presentations and vigorous questioning, looking, listening and co-learning with my esteemed long time Taiwanese friends and colleagues.from 22 September to 4 October. Among the main events and presentations:
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.
Let’s have a quick look. After some years of talking with cities, and working and observing in many different circumstances, here is my personal shortlist of the barriers most frequently encountered in trying to get innovative transportation reform programs off the ground, including even in cities that really do badly need a major mobility overhaul.
FOR THE RECORD AND IN BRIEF:
A Safe City is an urban development vision and quantifiable target, the first step of which is (a) to reduce traffic accidents and their human and economic costs to zero in the city, by (b) strategically slowing down traffic, over all the parts and the system as a whole. This gives the city a measurable target output (accident data and on-street and in-vehicle ITS feedback) for evaluation and management purposes, and an innovative platform to link and serve other sustainable projects and programs which are consistent to the theme: reforms and improvements that are Better | Cheaper | Safer.
Late night thoughts on some of the creative thinkers who over the last five decades have, each in their own highly individual ways, entirely reshaped our views of a just, efficient and sustainable city.
Not to be too aggressive here, but if you, as a planner, decision-maker, activist or student, are not familiar with the thinking and accomplishments of a fair number of these champions of sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, then you have some important homework to do before you can really dig in, understand and make a contribution. And in each case the Wikipedia profiles provide only a preliminary introduction to get you started, along with a first round of references to their work and contributions sufficient for you to start to understand their genius and contributions.
Let’s have a look at my personal shortlist of sustainability heroes, based entirel on A sample of people whom i have had the honor to know and work with. (You will no doubt have your on list, so please make it known and share them with firstname.lastname@example.org.).
Useful background references from the archives of World Streets to lend a hand to planners, policy makers, researchers, NGOs, students, media and others concerned with the challenges of sustainable cities in general, and in particular those of calming traffic speeds in combination with other complementary measures to change, to improve and to soften the face of your city.
25 Feb. 2018. Please note: Following to be updated to accommodate latest findings.