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.
In support of the Better Choices process we are working hard to develop an open on-line library resource with select references on sources intended to be useful to planners, local government, decision makers, operators, the media, students, and concerned elements of civil society. These documents and references are being selected with the counsel of leading international authorities in our field.
For latest information on the Better Choices: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Smaller Asian Cities project, of which the Bookshelf is one part, click to https://goo.gl/qN85st
Address to the Full Council Meeting of MBPP, December 22, 2016
I wish to inform my fellow councilors that this will be my last speech to the Council as I have declined to be nominated by civil society to the State authority for reappointment to the Council.
Let me now touch on the running of the Council. The Council exists to serve rate payers and the public. . . In the interest of promoting greater transparency and participation, and in accordance with Local Agenda 21 that encourages the promotion greater public participation, this Council should be a leader to adopt the policy of allowing members of the public to speak at full council meetings, and also to open up its committee and sub-committee meetings to members of the public.
We are about to introduce this book to our 4,434 readers living and working in no less than 149 countries, most of whom in “emerging economies” — but let’s make this first part of this review very simple. If you are at all interested in the on-going tectonic shift from what we used to call “transport” or “transportation” to the far more elusive and difficult “sustainable transport” or “mobility”, especially in the context of cities, this is a book which you really have to spend some time with to read and savour. It is timely, deep, critical, fair and wise. And not only for those working in the emerging economies
(Notice: For many of our readers, students, young professionals, NGO’s or tightly funded small city administrations, the hefty price may be a problem,. But let’s first take a good look at the book and then we can talk about a possible work-around for that price.)