Author Archives: Eric Britton, editor

Finland, Music and Equity

Over the last months we have given considerable  attention to trying to learn from Finland’s outstanding accomplishments over the last decades in creating   from a very poor base one of the world’s highest performing  school systems, building on a foundation which puts the concept of equity at the vital core of their policy and performance.  And over the last several decades, the country has likewise undergone an enormous transition to become a leading country as well in the field of classical music, transforming it from “a moribund luxury into a vital part of everyday life.”  Let’s have a look at this short article on  “Finland’s Classical Crescendo” and see if there are any lessons to be gleaned for our work in the mobility sector. Continue reading

Thinking about Equity-Based Transport Systems: Get Ready to Embrace Complexity (or Get Off the Bridge)

As is or at least should by now be well known, a transportation “system” is well more than a collection of largely free-standing bits of infrastructure, modes, links, agencies, institutions, operators and more.  It is in fact a textbook example of a disorganized complex system, or more specifically a vast, chaotic but ultimately manageable ecosystem.  And if it is our ambition — which it should be — to construct, or rather reconstruct, our city transport systems into functional high-performing sustainable ecosystems. it can help to build up our understanding of the process in steps. Continue reading

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.)

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Editor’s Desk: Radio Silence from World Streets

If you have tried dipping into World Streets from time to time over the last two months in attempt to follow the action, you will have found the cupboard quite bare. Why, and what next? Let’s have a look at what has been going on behind the scenes. Continue reading

When the history of automobility and transport policy is properly documented . . .

The Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice is the long-standing idea and print partner of World Streets and the New Mobility Agenda since 1995. The Spring 2012 edition appears with articles by Helmut Holzapfel, Nick Williams , Clement N. Guasco, and W.S. Kuotcha, N.S. Ferguson, M. de Langen, G.K. Kululanga and A.M. Grimason.  In the article that follows you will find the hard-hitting lead editorial by founding editor John Whitelegg.  Continue reading

“We’ve never needed geniuses more than we do now.”

Look around the world today. Consider your country, your city . . .  Do you see signs of genius or even better “excess genius”, a deep-seated,  awe-inspiring 21st century Renaissance already underway?  We will dig into this later in the context of our Equity work, but for now let me draw your attention to this thoughtful piece  by Jonah Lehrer. And for myself just to take a bit of time to ponder this from the vantage of the place I am in today, Helsinki and Finland more generally.   (The following appeared in the Frontal Cortex column of Wired Science on March 22, 2012 .) Continue reading

Weekend Musing: Less, More and Mozart

These slipped in over the transom in the last days here in Helsinki, and while some of you will be well on top of all three let me take the risk and share them with those  who may not have spotted them  for your weekend reading, listening and musing pleasure . Continue reading

Helsinki 2012: Program overview

This collaborative project takes the form of an “open conversation” looking into the pros and cons, the possibilities, barriers and perhaps eventual impossibilities, of creating an equity-based transportation system at the level of a city and its surrounding region. This first pioneering project, in what we hope will become a series of leading world city projects building on this first example, is being carried out under the leadership of the Helsinki Department of City Planning and Transportation, and is taking place over the period mid-February through mid-April 2912. (You will find further working papers and supporting media sources in the second half of this introduction.) Continue reading

Late Night Thoughts on Equity from Helsinki

Equity? Hmm. This, it turns out on inspection,  is not quite so easy a concept to get across. In English, and after two days of discussions with a wide variety of groups and people here in Helsinki, it’s already tough enough.  And I have learned, it’s  even more challenging in Finnish. Here are some late night thoughts on this word that I share with you here in the hope that it may inspire comments and clarification. So here you have my notes, more or less in the order that they came to mind late in the night.  Continue reading

Editorial: On the plane to Helsinki

I have always thought of myself not as a consultant – that is, someone with specific expertise to whom you ask directed questions and who gives you what you think/hope are the right answers – but rather as an “advisor”, i.e. someone whose role it is to sit next to you for a certain period of time and draw your attention to a certain number of things to which you might wish to give a closer look. (NB. My experience shows that it is usually a lot more comfortable to work with consultants.) Continue reading

Crowdsourcing Equity/Transport/ Helsinki

What are, say, the five questions concerning transport and equity (and Helsinki) that you would like to have me ask in your behalf in Helsinki starting tomorrow in our first Stakeholder/Peer Group Dialogues? Maybe easiest if you might give me your list  via eric.britton@ecoplan.org

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Pasi Sahlberg on Equity and Education

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Go to the back of the bus

This is a photograph of Mrs. Rosa Parks, a brave pioneer for equity in transport. On December 1, 1955 Mrs. Parks boarded a bus in the southern city of Montgomery Alabama after a long day of work and took a seat in the back of the bus that was marked for use by both white and blacks.

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Faces of Transportation Equity in the USA: Troy Buchanan

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Faces of Transportation Equity in the USA: Quig Komorrah

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Faces of Transportation Equity in the USA: Roger Shope

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Faces of Transportation Equity in the USA: Cynthia Jarrold reports

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Faces of Transportation Equity in the USA: Mahasin Abdul-Salaam

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