Category Archives: media

Weekend pause: Equitable Music Flash from a Train Station in Helsinki

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Groningen: The quiet example

What? You know all about transport in cities and you have never heard of Groningen? Well, check out this : an unexpected street interview in Groningen, a slice of life as filmed by our old friend and transport innovating colleague Robert Stussi. He has titled it: “A Homage to Hans Monderman”. Hear, hear! Continue reading

Whenever I hear the word revolver . . . I reach for my culture.

We have long-held a theory at the New Mobility Agenda that you can never tell where the next good idea is going to come from. So you really do have to keep your eyes, ears and minds wide open, and learn where you can, where you can, from whom you can. For example, Volkswagen in the New Mobility Agenda? Well, what not? Let’s show you one great idea that you may not have seen the first time around and that we have just this morning plucked out from our archives.
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Honk! Getting off the ox (when it comes to cars and cities).

There is a bit of ancient Hindu  wisdom that goes, roughly: How can a man riding an ox and looking for an ox, ever find the ox.  The answer being of course, only when he gets off the ox. Thus it is in life, but for many of us it is somewhere between hard and impossible to ever get off the ox of our perceptions and set values. But there are, thankfully, creative people who can do this.

Here by way of a quick warm-up is one quick demonstration of this off-the-ox approach from the lively mind of Jean Tinguely of his Cyclograveur, in short a bicycle that, as you pant and pedal, paints beautiful (?!?) pictures. And now t for your weekend reading pleasure let’s have a look at what our friends over at Streetsblog have just reported on another more timely off-the-ox transportation project, this time by the ever-ingenious Chris Burden with his post-Tinguely road-wrapping machine, Metropolis II.  Off we go. Continue reading

Eyes on the streets: Luis in Quito Ecuador

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Learning from each other: Four Cities, Four Ways

Every time I go into a city that is struggling with its transportation/environment situation, I have the feeling that it would be a great thing for them to develop for themselves a “sharing and learning film” along these lines. Perhaps one day . . .

In the beginning was New York City and its historic transportation mess:
Streetfilms, the sharp media end of the innovative www.streetsblog.org program out of New York City, has recently put on line for free download a full feature version of a documentary originally produced in 2006 as part of the New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign. The film, “Contested Streets: Breaking New York City Gridlock“, explores the history and culture of New York City streets from pre-automobile times to present. Even now, five years later, it gets its important points across.

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What about using our heads (for a change)?

At the end of the day our transport sector, no matter where it is, is shaped by the perceptions of the main players, the opportunists, planners, decision makers and the public of what is there and what is it that people want and need. And if it is a mess in your country or city,well that’s because these perceptions are simply not clear enough. Read what Nate Sliver of the New York Times has to say when there is a collision between the experts and common sense on one much discussed transportation topic. Interesting things happen when smart people from the outside poke their noses into the transportation box. As we say: “you never know where the next good idea is going to come from”. Continue reading

Moving Beyond the Automobile – Exit Parking

The tenth and final video in Streetfilms’ Moving Beyond the Automobile series, looks into the necessary reasons and some of the techniques for parking reform. While the context is New York City, the  lessons are universal. From doing away with mandatory parking minimums, to charging the right price for curbside parking, to converting on-street parking spots into parklets and bike corrals, cities are latching onto exciting new ideas to make more room for people in our cities and repurpose the valuable public space that lines our streets. Continue reading

Honk! Cars, People and the Planet. It’s a Wonderful World (Have a stupid weekend)

Have you ever given any thought to trying to imagine just how dumb some people think we are? My guess is that the good people of Hyundai have laid out serious money for this little film, without giving much thought to IQ’s.  So we can only assume that they have done this for our weekend viewing pleasure. What can we say?  Well, thank you.

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Sempé: A Short History of Social Mobility

A Short History of Social Mobility in five small frames – from a collection of drawings and pastels that first appeared in the edition “Nothing is easy” (Rien n’est simple) by Jean-Jacques Sempé, published a century ago in 1962.  But even back then the message was howlingly clear. Amazing to think of how little it is understood two generations later, even though the indisputable proof is right before our eyes. If only we choose to look.

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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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Sustainable Transport and the Importance of Pattern Recognition

In order to turn around a very big boat that is moving in the wrong direction – think global warming or any of the other wrong-way trips that we are currently locked into when it comes to transport in cities – it helps to be smart, studious and work very hard. But it is if anything even more important to have a feel for what is really going on. And this is where the fine art of pattern recognition comes in. Pattern recognition: all too often the empty chair when it comes to understanding and decision making in the field of transport policy and practice. No wonder we are doing so poorly. Continue reading

Interview with Roland Ries: Cyclist, Senator and Mayor of Strasburg

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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Streets are for people.

Roads are for vehicles. Streets are for people.

These are people who are reclaiming their streets.

– Cairo Street scene. January 2011

No man is an island.

World Streets

Grading Sustainable Transport: Scholarship A. Leadership C-

One of the often voiced claims of World Streets is that those who best understand the issues and priorities behind sustainable transport and sustainable cities are failing to command the high ground in the debate and the politics of decision simply because we are just not good enough at communicating our ideas, first to each other and then to the world. All too often when confronted with a decision issue, with our strong academic orientation and backgrounds, we prefer to turn to the familiar world of more research, fatter reports and that next great conference, while at the end of the day what we really need is a concise, credible, understandable presentation of our best ideas and the choices that need to be made. Continue reading

Commuting your way to divorce

One of the persistent themes of World Streets is that both the starting and the ending place for  what is often called “transportation” or “infrastructure” are not about concrete, steel or rubber, nor infrastructure, vehicles or even electronics, but people — ordinary people like you and me in our day-to-day lives. Here in a short piece by the behavioral economist Robert Frank that appeared in Saturday’s New York Times is a single paragraph (toward the bottom and conveniently in red here) which provides  us with one more  trenchant reminder that reminds us of the importance of starting with people. And the high cost of tailing to do just that. Continue reading

Antidote: Why one American liberal suggests that there are viable options to your car

In the wake of the sheer madness, no that’s too kind, outright stupidity, flagrant self-satisfaction and puerile cuteness of yesterday’s “Why Leftists want to pull you all on mass transit” piece, we offer you some brief words of respite taken directly from Paul Krugman’s 7 October piece in his “The Conscience of a Liberal” blog from the New York Times. Our bottom line: Don’t give up on America yet. We may be in the slow lane, but with a lot more hard work and hard thinking we just may get there yet. Continue reading

Honk: Why Leftists Want to Pull You All on Mass Transit

Fresh from America’s Fox News (“fair and balanced” is their motto), this article will provide our readers with a clue as to how the present electorial shenanigans are generating wisdom and expert comments on “best practices” when it comes to transport in cities.  And if you should wish to check the public reaction to the author’s stated position, you can fill up your tank by reading the Comments here. Continue reading