World Streets and Thanksgiving Day 2010
Heavy traffic on the way to sustainable cities and sustainable lives . . .
Dear friends and colleagues,
With the harvest now safely in the granary, the livestock firmly locked in the barn, the muskets loaded and plenty of wood chopped to see us through a long and surely hard winter, it is time to cook up a big meal and invite everyone within shouting distance to come to celebrate that we all have somehow made it through one more year and have at least a fair shot at the one to come.
So on this special day for Americans, wearing my hat as founding editor of World Streets I decided this morning to pick up pen and write a short note to you (and approximately one thousand friends and colleagues in cities and countries literally all over the world) to see if they, you that is, might have some ideas as to how this thing we call World Streets can now organize to deal with the challenges and the opportunities of the year ahead. For, as you will see in ours and other pages, there are surely plenty of both.
It's quite simple really. It is my firm belief that World Streets and its affiliated international programs, networks and media (quite a lot of them actually) are making a useful contribution as an independent center of original thought and counsel on the world scene, opening up some new paths that offer real possibilities of far-reaching policy reforms and innovations in the field of transport and urban policy, without undermining the economy nor cutting back on quality of life for all. You will find plenty of proof of that if you click to www.WorldStreets.org, which is laid out not only so that your eye is immediately taken to the latest articles -- but also over in the right hand column you'll see a set of browsing tools which will permit you to pick out and scan the close to one thousand posted articles according to topic, date, and key words. Very handy and very useable. And all this within a very strict set of strategic guidelines (no one ever said that the transition to a sustainable world was going to be easy) set out briefly on the next page.
But a New Year looms and we now have to figure out a way to pay for all this, and that is – you know this of course – a real challenge. Hence this note to you and this personal request. So . . . would you be willing to take some of your valuable time in the weeks ahead to work with me to identify and make contact with groups, programs and individuals who share our concerns and feel that this is a battle worth fighting? My preferred solution for financing this to that would be somehow to conjure up and connect to a large number of large, medium and small contributions from individuals and affiliated groups who share our sense of mission.
That's a pretty thought but it is a huge organizational challenge which stretches way beyond my competence. So it seems to me that the bottom line will be us to find ways to take direct contact with foundations, public agencies, cities, universities, NGOs, other related programs and even individual citizens capable of bringing in the resources needed to make all this work and flourish. And that is precisely where we need a hand.
Over the next two weeks to get this important job done, I intend to stop the clock a bit on World Streets and all these programs, while we pause to concentrate our attention on the challenges of laying a firm foundation for 2011. But if you share our interests and concerns that does not mean that you should not follow the action on W/S, -- to the contrary we will be posting daily information and clues that are intended to help you and others who care make up your minds concerning the worthiness of this adventure, and why and how you might be able to lend a hand. It should be a very busy and actually quite exciting two weeks ahead.
So if this rings any kind of bell for you, let me invite you to get in touch by phone, email, Skype or, why not, a hot lunch in a cold Luxemburg Gardens, bundled up to face the weather and the future. This time I'm buying.
Finally, let me seize this opportunity to give thanks to the many of you who have chipped in to keep World Streets going. A joint effort, small miracles and extreme generosity have combined to finance World Streets until today. I am hoping that you can help me find and convince new sources of financing that can keep this very important initiative running. We owe it to ourselves, to our children and to future generations.
Thank you for all and thanking you in advance on this day of thanks giving,
new mobility partnerships | 8/10, rue joseph bara. 75006 paris france | +331 6550 3788 | skype newmobility
World Streets 101: A Primer
· In brief: Check out the 4-page summary at http://tinyurl.com/ws-4pages
· What's our plan? Check out the Mission Statement - http://tinyurl.com/ws-keys
· Look at some world streets to get a feel for what's up: http://tinyurl.com/ws-camera
· What do our readers think? 101 of our readers had to say this: http://tinyurl.com/ws-100plus.
2. Sustainability = Frugal, Fast And Fair – If the project or program does not pass these three basic tests it is not sustainable and should not be funded at this time by the public sector
· The end of profligacy. The initiative has to make focused frugal use of hard-won taxpayer money. Frugality is not a bad word. If is not harsh, nor putative. To the contrary, it is a word for these times.
· The sustainability benefits need to kick in fast. Within the next two to five years. Let's talk about 2020 when we have a few years of success with the sustainability agenda. We need to start winning now.
· If it is taxpayer money we are talking about, the prime beneficiaries should be those that need it most. If it benefits the rich, let them invest or pay for it themselves.
3. Entrepreneurship: The private sector has an enormous, a vital role to play to in the move to sustainable transport and sustainable cities. But this has to be within a framework of wise governance, not surrender.
· Government's role is to create the legal, financial and tax structure that will encourage and open up opportunities for the private sector to become a real motor for sustainability. This does not mean handing them money for some bright idea; rather creation of a strategically designed network of the incentives and constraints that will channel their enormous creative potential in the right direction.
· PS. Fitting in the automobile into this New Mobility environment is part of the challenge. Stay tuned!
· No Italian? No problem. Click Translation for pretty good English, French and Spanish help.
5. India Streets – 1.1 billion smart and needy people in the process of reorganizing their lives on a scale and with a speed that threatens their own well-being and of course that of the planet. www.IndiaStreets.orghas just started publication with a board of outstanding young Indian professionals helping to create an informed independent voice for sustainable transport and sustainable cities in the Subcontinent.
· Check out some of the great varieties of India's Streets - http://tinyurl.com/is-video1
6. Share/Transport - More to it than you thought: Sharing, got right, is one of the most powerful tools for vitalizing our transport systems not only to provide fast and dramatic cut-backs on fossil fuel consumption and pollution, but also to provide high quality transport while achieving very considerable economic and financial benefits for individuals and government. We organized the first World Share/Transport Forum in Kaohsiung in September of this year and is laying the base for the second world conference in China in 2011.
· Check out the Kaohsiung 2010 World S/T Forum at – www.kaohsiung.sharetransport.org
· The distinguished International Advisory Panel can be seen here: http://cost.sharetransport.org/
7. New Mobility Partnerships / Collaborative knowledge building. "Sustainable transport" is a puzzle of many parts. Back in 1988 we began organizing international focus groups bring together operators, researchers and thought-leaders in areas which we view as critical new mobility solutions. Among these fora dedicated to: Carsharing, City Bike Systems, Tax System Overhaul, Sustainable Transport in the Global South, the Journal of World Transport Policy and Practice and more.
· For a global overview click to http://www.kaohsiung.sharetransport.org/
8. New Mobility Media: Quite a lot going on there, with participation in projects for films, radio and TV, and decent tries at integrating Facebook Groups to support and enhance the main programs.
· Check out at the New Mobility Media Partnerships at http://media.newmobility.org/
· Example: World Streets Facebook Group page at http://tinyurl.com/fb-world-streets
9. Getting the word out: If sustainability is the objective, personal appearances are critically important to get the message across. This leads to various forms of support for creation of presentations, workshops, conferences and master classes in cities, schools, universities, and in cooperation with other groups and programs who share our objectives. Many of these important events are not funded or not much funded. This means we need to kick in to make them happen. 2010 saw us organizing events and talking the talk in places as disperse as Lisbon, Kaohsiung, Stuttgart, Faro, Taipei, Helsinki, and of course Paris.
Is all this worth the candle? Hard for me to say of course. But knowing that every week anywhere from one to two thousand people check into the pages of World Streets, coming from more than fifty countries, it would seem to be encouraging.