Category Archives: equity

Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All?

Today we step back and look beyond our usual sectoral concerns, and consider what this important report from the UNDP released today may or may not offer to help us to understand in our up-hill push to sustainable transport and sustainable cities. At first glance, their linking of sustainability and equality as their main theme this year is right in line with our own policy focus. So let’s have a look to see what lessons we might learn from their work and perceptions. Continue reading

A car to improve lives

What is that famous definition of an intelligent person? Someone who can keep two contradictory ideas in mind without her head exploding? Here is pretty interesting test of this for our more thoughtful anti-car friends.  And yes of course, your comments, caveats, etc. are warmly welcome. Let’s turn this one around a bit and have a look at it in the cold light of day. Continue reading

The Transportation Majority. (And why can’t our politicians count?)

 Policy makers have given ample proof that they just don’t get it. They plan and spend hard-earned taxpayer money for a distinct minority of all citizens and voters. It is amazing that they still manage to get elected. What’s going on in their heads? Continue reading

In homage to Lee Schipper

Our long-time colleague and very dear friend Lee Shipper left us on Tuesday evening, warmly surrounded by family and loving friends. Since he meant so much to so many of us who have been involved in the uphill struggle for sustainability in all its forms and corners of our lives, I thought it would be appropriate to open up these pages over the next days, and possibly more than that, to a selection of pieces in which the author reflects on the kind of very special person that Lee was. Continue reading

IV. The Female Quotient: Next steps on World Streets – Leadership Profiles

After the first article in this series appeared in these pages on July 27th, more than fifty people from a dozen countries responded with suggestions and nominations for profiles of outstanding women who through their work, character and originality are, quite literally, shaping and re-shaping the transportation agenda. Based on that strong response, their quality and the evident interest in the topic, we have decided to see if we can work with those making these nominations to provide a series of leadership profiles to improve the international visibility concerning the contributions that women are making in the field at all the key levels involved. Continue reading

Tragedy of the Commons: The car as enclosure

Chris Bradshaw, Canadian planner and new mobility innovator, takes us on a quick peek into cars as “enclosures” of what should more rightly be the common domain in our cities. When we look at it this way, the concept of a “right to park” starts to look quite different. We are once again back to the concept of “worst practices” on the one hand, and on the other, our the understanding of space as public, private . . . or social. All of a sudden we have a new and quite different base for discussion and policy. Continue reading

III. The Female Quotient. Women shaping the future of transport in cities: Who, how, where?

29 July interim progress report:
This off-the-cuff collaborative brainstorm is proving a pure learning experience. We started out with a single long-held idea: i.e., the importance of getting all aspects of the sustainable transport planning and policy establishment on to a gender-level footing. And against that understanding we set out on Tuesday  to see if we could, with a little help from our friends, come up with a convincing list identifying a certain number of outstanding women leaders working in our field who, though their excellent preparation, their strong convictions and their courageous pioneering actions, are literally redrawing the new mobility map (and the mental maps) of our cities. And all that at a level of excellence that captures the attention of others in other places, and inspires them to study, emulate and perhaps even to surpass the original project, approach and policies. Continue reading

II. The Female Quotient. Women Shaping the Future: What are the criteria for measuring impact?

There has been a refreshingly enthusiastic reaction to our posting yesterday asking about the general deficiency of information on women leaders in the field of sustainable transport in cities. But one note came in from the prolific environmental educator and recognized policy adviser Elizabeth Deacon challenging us in these exact words: “I assume you think there are in fact women who have had an impact. But I then must also assume that your comments have gone unheeded. At the same time, one has to wonder what the criteria are for measuring “impact” – do you know???” Fair question. Continue reading

I. The Female Quotient. There are no women in the world who are shaping the sustainable transportation agenda? (Apparently)

I wonder if I am the only person in the world who gets upset at this:

I am from time to time approached by groups and publications with in-progress lists identifying whom they see as the most influential people who are through their work and efforts shaping the sustainable transportation agenda, which they then ask me to comment, add to, etc.  Now what is to me most striking about these lists is that on almost all occasions they invariably consist not only of outstanding people, but almost entirely of names of males. Continue reading

Toward a new paradigm for transport in cities: Let’s see what Carlos Pardo has to say

The Stuttgart conference of Cities for Mobility this year represented an important step forward in the construction of a well-defined agenda for new mobility that up until the present time has been sadly lacking. But what we have managed to develop over the last two decades is a certain number of basic principles spanning many different areas and kinds of operational situations, but somehow until now we have failed to put them all together into a well-defined, convincing operational and policy package. We think of this as the move toward a new paradigm for transport in cities – and it all starts with . . . slowing down. Continue reading

Why people do what they do? And why it’s important for us to understand.

David Brooks is a columnist for the New York Times, generally a mid-American Conservative with all that implies.  But he can surprise. Today he took a whack at the convolute matters of cognition, context and eventually the choices we make.  From the vantage of our sector of responsibility here, if we are not able to operate at this level of cerebralilty, we will never make the transition to not just an “examined society” but also a sustainable world. So we better start making better use of the space in the back of our brains as well.

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SLOWTH: Or why it is so very important (and so very easy) to slow down traffic in cities

It is the consistent position of this journal that much of what is wrong with our current transportation arrangements in cities could be greatly alleviated if we can find ways just to slow down. It is very powerful — and it’s just not that hard to do.  Get comfortable and have a look. Continue reading

Women2Drive: A Day to be remembered in The Kingdom and beyond.

It is a rare day that World Streets comes out in favor of cars in cities. But even that of course is not quite true. At best there will be plenty of cars in our cities, but they will not be parked and they will be chauffeuring not just their drivers but offering affordable services to flexible groups of people safely and efficiently. Great way to get around when you get it right.

And getting it right is the theme of the day today in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where, as you all surely are aware, a few – we will possibly never know the exact number – Saudi women have decided that they have a rightful place in society, in the public space, and that this also includes being behind the wheel when they need to get somewhere. And today is their great day: Women2Drive is social media-driven campaign and sisterhood project in which a certain number of intrepid women are getting behind the wheel and defying the Kingdom’s long ban on female drivers. Here is a fine article from the New York Times  introducing the topic, and for more we and our readers will be adding more in the days to come.

La femme est l’avenir de l’homme. Or in English: Go for it Sisters. Continue reading

Cycles of Change: Pedaling to Empowerment in Dhaka

Bangladeshi women face significant barriers from family, neighbors and society in getting on a bike a riding around town in bright daylight. Freedom of mobility is seriously curtailed in Dhaka if women don’t feel safe to travel independently in their own city. Over 35% of female commuters in Dhaka depend on a cycle rickshaw and as more major roads ban these rickshaws, daily mobility for women is threatened furthermore. Arohi’s tagline: “Pedaling the way to empowerment” summarizes the links that we plan to draw between cycles, mobility and empowerment. Continue reading

Mobility, Democracy and Politics: Interview with Monsieur le Maire

What’s happening on the new mobility scene in France in 2011? Here you have, in French but with good subtitles, an interview by one of the outstanding political innovators in the field of sustainable transport policy and practice in France. Roland Ries is serving his second term as mayor of Strasburg, and at the same time heads up the national transport political group GART. He also, by the way, as a member of the French Senate drafted the law defining carsharing in France, thus opening up a part of the way to more and better carsharing nation-wide. Spend three minutes with this short video to get a feel for what the leading edge in France is thinking and doing about transport in cities. You will quickly see that this is a world-level message. Play it for your mayor and talk to her about it.

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To fix Sustainable Transport: Ensure Full Gender Parity in all Decision and Investment Fora (QED)

Today is International Women’s Day. And not only that, 2011 marks the one hundredth anniversary of this great and necessary idea. So what better occasion for World Streets to announce publicly, loudly and yet once again our firm belief that the most important single thing that our society, our nations and our cities could do to increase the fairness and the effectiveness of our transportation arrangements would be to make it a matter of the law that all decisions determining how taxpayer money is invested in the sector should be decided by councils that respect full gender parity. We invite you to join us in this challenge and make it one of the major themes of sustainable transport policy worldwide in 2011. Continue reading

What percent of your city’s street space is allocated to non-car uses

The pie chart you will find just below  graphically illustrates the state of street space allocation today in New York City, after four years of hard work on a committed local effort by city government and many associations to free street space for pedestrians, bikes and buses. All that for less than one half of one percent of the public space given over to cars. So here is our question this morning: Do things look any better in your city in 2011? We invite your reports and comments. Continue reading

Unfair, unsafe and unwise – a major crisis abuilding for sustainable transport in Britain

Dear British Friends and Colleagues,

Forgive me if I am being naïve, but based on what I am reading and hearing it strikes me that there is a major crisis abuilding for sustainable transport in Britain in the months immediately ahead — as a result of the coalition government withdrawing funding from a lot of mainly small and local (since they really have to be small and usually local and focused if they are to succeed) sustainable transport initiatives This strikes me as a caring if distant observer as unfair, unsafe and unwise. Continue reading