Penang Sustainability Classics at your service

Universal right to mobility wheelchair
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – G. Santayana in The Life of Reason, 1905
In the rush to get the contracts signed and construction underway so that Penang can in a decade or three be served a hopefully unique collection of free-standing monorails, sky high LRTs, wobbling Sky Cabs, and tunnels and ever more and wider roads and parking, it is useful to recall that some prescient analytic work has been done by individual expert observers and groups over the last two decades — which should not be forgotten in today’s rush to market.
With this in mind, we started to develop a section of our S/P Public Library that will contain a certain number of “Penang Sustainability Classics”: a free and open collection of reports and working papers that present of very different view of priorities and possibilities other than those presently being pursued. And it is here where we would like to ask for your help. But first by way of example let us point to a small handful of several earlier of these reports which have some very interesting things to tell us, even today.

Sustainable Transport Environment in Penang (STEP) 1998: Overview at and Rasagam report at
Mitchel: Institutional Barriers to Accessible Public Transport in Penang 2010:
Disabled Persons Action Group (1985) –
Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda (2013) –
World Bank


If you consider that this is a useful initiative and you have other reports or working nappers that provide a more consistent, scientific view of the issues involved here, it would be great to have your nominations. Thank you
– As to our inability to learn from the past, let me close with this citation by Winston Churchill. House of Commons, 2 May 1935
“When the situation was manageable it was neglected, and now that it is thoroughly out of hand we apply too late the remedies which then might have effected a cure. There is nothing new in the story. It is as old as the sibylline books. It falls into that long, dismal catalogue of the fruitlessness of experience and the confirmed unteachability of mankind. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong–these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.”
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Eric Britton
9, rue Gabillot, 69003 Lyon France

Bio: Educated as an international development economist, Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher and sustainability activist who has worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change, civil society and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets: The Politics of Transport in Cities | See Britton online at and @ericbritton

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