Taiwan East/West New Mobility Innovation Challenge 2017. Events: Getting ready for Taiwan 2017 Collaborative Mission

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:

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Battles of Ideas

complex systems networkThis section is intended to be developed into 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.

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Why Alternatives Analysis is critical to Penang’s transportation future

Alternatives assessment or alternatives analysis is a problem-solving approach used in environmental design, technology, and policy. It aims to minimize environmental harm by comparing multiple potential solutions in the context of a specific problem, design goal, or policy objective. It is intended to inform decision-making in situations with many possible courses of action, a wide range of variables to consider, and significant degrees of uncertainty.

Since the early 1970’s transportation planners apply a multi-modal and/or comprehensive approach to analyzing a wide range of alternatives and impacts on the transportation system to influence beneficial outcomes

Penang’s SRS ca. RM 50 bn “Transport Master Plan” does not make scientific use of an essential transport planning and decision tool, namely Alternatives Analysis to test and compare alternative solutions to identified mobility solutions (see below). This is a grave deficiency which discredits the entire body of proposals,, methodology and recommendations currently being actively pushed by the state government and their under-qualified  consulting partners whose expertise lies in other sectors than strategic transport planning and policy..

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WHOSE OPINION MATTERS? Lessons from a Stakeholder Engagement Process for Penang, Malaysia

Lessons from a Stakeholder Engagement Process for Penang, Malaysia
Author: Minal Pathak • MIT-UTM Malaysia Sustainable Cities Program 2017

– Commentary by Eric Britton, Professor of Sustainable Development, Institut Supérieur de Gestion Paris

“Recommended reading for anyone who cares about Penang and Democracy”

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Transportation Innovation and Reform: The Path to Social Sustainability

As wise and balanced a summary as you will find of the fine art of dialogue and engagement when it comes to the hard job of developing and integrating new transport arrangements into a space as varied and in many ways contradictory and conflicted as a  21st century city, in any part of the world.  Bravo! With kind thanks to Christopher Zegras of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning, one of the conveners of this event, for sharing this with our readers. (You may also wish to check out the short note of conclusion of the editor.) Continue reading

Op-Ed. The car has a chokehold on Britain. It’s time to free ourselves

From The Guardian1 August 2017 

 We tell ourselves that we cherish efficiency. Yet we have created a transport system whose design principle is profligacy. Metal carriages (that increase in size every year), each carrying one or two people, travel in parallel to the same places. Lorries shifting identical goods in opposite directions pass each other on 2,000-mile journeys. Competing parcel companies ply the same routes, in largely empty vans. We could, perhaps, reduce our current vehicle movements by 90% with no loss of utility, and a major gain in our quality of life.

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Seventeen plus 1 reasons why I am prudently optimistic about the Sustainability Transition for 2018-2020

Shortlist of Transformative Realities and Trends

eb-tallinn-statementOne of the great recompenses of having watched the sustainable transportation and related technology developments evolve over the course of several decades, is that if one takes the time to step back and scan the evidence for pattern breaks, one can readily spot a certain number of  trends, fundamental structural changes, quite a few of which bode well for a different and better future for transport in and around cities. Here are a handful of the fundamental underlying changes which I have spotted over the last decades and which I would like to share with you this morning.

Let’s start with a simple listing and then go on to brief comments in an attempt to clarify.

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Outreach for success: Local actors & implementation partners

Too often when it comes to new transport initiatives, the practice is to concentrate on laying the base for the project in close working relationships with people and groups who a priori are favorably disposed to your idea, basically your choir. Leaving the potential “trouble makers” aside for another day. Experience shows that’s a big mistake. We have to take a . . .
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The rough road to sustainable mobility: Values, priorities, behavior . . and finally, understanding people (and ourselves)

indonesia-jakarta-traffic-on-following-monday

WHY ARE THEY THERE? NOW? (Work trip in Jakarta on one more busy morning)  Each person behind a wheel there made a choice to be there.  For better or worse. How can we give them Better Choices? That’s the rub.

What many people call “transportation” . .  is at its very essence not about road or bridges, nor vehicles or technology, and not even about money.  Above all it is about people, their needs, fears, desires and the decisions they make. And the backdrop — real and mental — against which they make those decision. The transport planner needs to know more them and take this knowledge into the center of the planning and policy process. What makes them tick, individually and collectively.  What do they want and what they are likely to resist. And people, as we all know, are intensely complicated, personal and generally change-resistant. .But if we take the time and care we can start to understand them, at least a bit better. Which is a start.

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A Mayor’s-Eye View of Sustainable Transportation: Politics as the art of the possible

no excuses sir 2The letter that follows is, as you will quickly surmise, not an actual communication from one elected official in one case, but rather a composite, a distillation of experience that I have had over these last years of trying to push the sustainable transportation agenda in many parts of the world, almost always in conjunction and in dialogue with mayors and other city leaders.

As you will see, it is not that they are uniformly adverse to or not interested in the concepts behind sustainable transportation and sustainable cities. It is just that they have a great many other things on their mind, including staying on top day after day of the considerable challenges of managing their city — and, in not very long, running once again for reelection. This is the political reality of which those of us who would be agents of change must be aware, that politics is the art of the possible. Now let’s turn the stage over to our mayor: Continue reading

Archives: Slow Cities, Spanish perspectives

Speed ​​is a fact and cars have priority in urban areas. Source: © iStockphoto.com / Sze Kit Poon.

The “Slow Cities” movement promotes the deceleration of urban life. In Spain, six urban centers are already attached to this initiative, which began in Italy in 1999

“Slow Cities” are characterized by a way of life in which their citizens slow down, traditional tradition and ways are valued, without neglecting the technological advances that help to improve the quality of life. These cities acquire a personalized style and are no longer part of a homogenized world. It is the movement “Cittaslow”, which began in Italy in October 1999 has spread throughout the world.

* Article by Rosae Martín, from Microtendencias21 Nov. 7, 2013 

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A Walk along the Street of Harmony in Penang

Penang Street of Harmony Project celebrates mutual tolerance illustrated by this amazingly cosmopolitan microcosm.

– Anwar Fazal takes us for a walk down the Street of Harmony in Penang.

The island of Penang, Malaysia, has long been a magnet for a multitude of people from all over the world and has over the last two centuries succeeded in integrating countless cultures and religions into its very fabric.

Penang  is very special.  It was a place that opened up for all the communities of the world. That particular special flavor, sometimes in many places in the world, is all too often lost over history. But in Penang, uniquely, it continued.

There is much Penang can teach the world today about acceptance and harmony in diversity.

* * * Walk down the streets of Penang with Anwar Fazal. |  View: https://vimeo.com/219493364

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International Symposium on Travel Demand Management (TDM) Taipei invites Penang

* * * SPECIAL RATES FOR PARTICIPANTS FROM PENANG * * *

The 8th International Symposium On Travel Demand Management is taking place in Taiwan from 27-29 September. All details at http://2017tdm.ntu.edu.tw/.

In recognition to those who are involved in the present vigorous public debate on a viable transport strategy and plan for Penang, the organizers are offering sharp discounts to anyone working on these issues in Penang – whether government, university, NGOs, civil society, researchers, consultants and investigative media. Instead of the full price (USD 350.00) as per 1 August the following prices are available for participants from Penang:

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The 2016 Civil Society Penang Sustainable Mobility Challenge: Lessons Learned and Next Steps

What were the weaknesses of our collaborative summer 2016 push

  • Very few – terrific job. Most sincerely! But also, to be honest and strategic . . .

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Leading the way: Visionaries, scientists, heroes and builders

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 slowcity@ecoplan.org.).

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Slow City: In the beginning were the Provos (and the White Plans)

luud-provo-cop-white-bike

To understand Luud Schimmelpennink’s White Bicycle Plan, it helps to have a look at the broader context of values, philosophy and politics that were prevailing in Amsterdam at that time –  the Provos, a Dutch counterculture youth movement in the mid-1960s.

And if one concludes that this was more or less what was going on in other parts of Europe and North America, you would be right.  And a bit wrong. The Dutch were digging deeper. At least this part of Dutch society was.

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SUSTAINABLE PENANG WHATSAPP AS A CROWD RESEARCH TOOL

Dear friends, we have a wonderful resource here with Whatsapp Sustainable Penang in the form of a searchable database of all of our exchanges since the generous creation of this great collaborative tool by no less than the formidable Engineer Lim Thean Heng all the way back there on December 14, 2015.

Just in case you didn’t notice it the transcript of all of these conversations which I have collected and inspected in searchable form run for more than half a million words of what . . . Not just idle chat, but rather the exchanges of a conserved citizenry about the sustainability challenges of Penang in all its dimensions, including of course the running battle of the Penang Transport Master Plan .

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Sustainable Mobility’s Bitter Pill (And why most politicians do not want to swallow it)

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