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
It would be most interesting for those of us looking in from outside, to see a “Naming Names” chart, which identifies those individuals, political groups, companies, financial groups, captive media, and lobbies who from all appearances have taken over the governance process in Penang in a variety of vital areas, and moved the decision process over radically to a consistent, unsustainable, inequitable and inefficient model of environmental, economic, and social development.
Including of course all of those outside forces ready at the drop of a hat to support the lack of a strong model for a Sustainable Penang.
Anybody up for taking a first stab at this, which can then perhaps be extended and articulated as part of an open collaborative process?
In a conversation about one of the critical issues and decision points being set out in my forthcoming collaborative book, “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City” — namely the fundamental structural importance of the climate/transport link — I was told yesterday by a well-placed person in Malaysia that no one in Penang or indeed Malaysia (or for that matter pretty much anywhere else on our gasping planet) takes climate change seriously. At least sufficiently seriously to even consider changing their daily transport choices (which it just happens is what my book is all about.).
Battle Royal: Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses
It was late Spring 1958 (as I best recall) in New York City when a young Eric Britton, just out of the US Army and about to dig into the Graduate Faculties of Columbia, was – as young men will do — checking out the action in Washington Square Park in the Village on a warm day. When he ran into two little kids wearing a sandwich sign saying something like “Save the Square!”. The kids handed me a pamphlet and explained that they were there to help their mother, who was just over there (they pointed).
And that was how I first met Mrs. Jane Jacobs, hard at work on an at-first very lonely effort to save this precious bit of NYC public space from the depredations of Robert Moses plan to run an urban highway extension of Fifth avenue over the concrete remains of what would once have been a beautiful and much used public park. It was clearly going to be a losing cause, but she decided to stick it out. And as she did others, unknowns and celebrities, gradually started to get behind her cause.
The central premise of the State’s strategy is simple . . . to “move people, not vehicles”. – From the Penang Transport Master Plan, at https://goo.gl/h9q8wm
INVITATION TO AN OPEN PUBLIC BRAINSTORM:
Can we get your support for or your reactions to a draft proposal that follows, for comparing the merits and the usefulness for the people of Penang for five alternative strategies for dealing with Penang’s most pressing transport/mobility needs and priorities? (Note: This is a very rough first introduction to this idea for creating a comprehensive independent basis for comparing the alternative strategies, targets and competence.)
Let’s have a look at what our colleagues in New South Wales are doing in the area of open data for transpor tplanning and polilcy — http://data.nsw.gov.au/blog/transport-open-data-and-convenience-revolution.