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Car Free City Annual Honor Roll

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  • ecoplan (paris)
    SUMMARY: Might we put our heads together and develop a high profile, international cooperative platform for discerning an annual International CarFree City
    Message 1 of 2 , Jul 9, 2000
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      SUMMARY: Might we put our heads together and develop a high profile,
      international cooperative platform for discerning an annual International
      CarFree City Honor Role???

      * * *

      I don't normally chime in here (CarFree eGroups discussion list at
      CarFree@egroups.com), though I do follow your exchanges with some interest.
      But here is an excellent reason, to my way of thinking, for me to pitch in
      here. Let me take this in several steps:

      1. Mr. Potts of Oklahoma City wrote to CarFree eGroups on this date as
      follows: "I hope to relocate in the next year or two. When I do so, I will
      be looking to live some place where I can consider ditching my car. Does
      anyone rank places according to their pedestrian and transit friendliness?
      If so, where are some of the best cities, towns, and neighborhoods?"

      2. That's a great question Mr. Potts, and to the best of my knowledge no
      such regularly updated 'honor roll' exists. But am I right in this? Can
      anyone out there give Mr. Potts more accurate information?

      3. Of course we know about many of the groups, programs, publications,
      associations, Web sites, and others doing more or less similar things under
      broader categories such as ' sustainable cities'', 'livable cities' and the
      like. And while none of these do exactly the job that Mr. Potts is asking
      for, it is useful to know a bit about them since they are among the raw
      materials that we can use to fashion a powerful and useful cooperative
      action now. Among the first that come immediately come to mind. . .

      * Kid Friendly Cities annual Friendly Cities awards at -
      http://www.zpg.org/kidfriendlycities/independentranking.html
      * Money Magazine annually reports on "Best Places" to live in US - see
      http://www.money.com/money/depts/real_estate/bestplaces/
      * International "Making Cities Livable" conference (see
      http://www.livablecities.org/)
      * UNDP Best Practices (See this years competition at
      http://www.bestpractices.org, as well as
      http://www.sustainabledevelopment.org)
      * UN Centre for Human Settlements Global Urban Indicators Project
      * The Cities21 pilot project of the ICLEI, see
      http://www.iclei.org/cities21/index.htm
      * The UN Environment Programme Grid Arendal's CEROI (Cities State of the
      Environment Reports on the Internet).
      * And while you're at it, maybe have a look at 21st Turtle Media -
      http://www.ecoplan.org/21t

      4. In addition to these more general sustainability groups and programs,
      there are a fair number of others working on these issues of sustainable
      transportation, efficiency and social justice - which if you add them all up
      come to the need for our cities being able to offer high quality, affordable
      transportation to people who for one reason or another do not own or have
      access to private cars. Among these are half a dozen programs of The
      Commons (http://www.ecoplan.org) -- but there are of course many more,
      including not least all the groups to whom this note is addressed.

      5. So what about this for an idea? Suppose we put our heads together and
      develop a high profile, international cooperative platform for discerning an
      annual International CarFree City Honor Role??? Since this is exactly the
      sort of thing that we do in The Commons, we would be willing top take the
      lead in getting this going, but the idea would be not that this would be
      'our' project or initiative, but rather that it be something that we would
      all (or at least a fair number of us) itch in to define, refine and make
      happen. Let me continue with this idea, if only briefly and in attempt to
      see if we might have a group idea here.

      6. Then, once we have the basic concept sketched out so that it is ready for
      inspection and provides an adequate basis for eventual cooperation and
      exchange, we could then set out to share this with the thousand or so other
      groups around the world that have mandates and intersts which make them
      natural allies for such a cooperative endeavor. Strength in numbers!

      7. CRITERIA. It will be good to have a fairly comprehensive (but not too
      much so) checklist that will allow the 'judges' to make objective
      assessments. Certainly accident statistics and air quality somehow have to
      be factored in, as well as provision for cycling and pedestrians (as
      transportation); ease of access by those with disabilities of various sorts;
      quality, frequency and price of public transport; etc for less conventional
      alternative arrangements (carsharing, cab sharing, ride sharing, pool and
      shuttle services); etc. Some sort of awareness of
      computer/telecommunications availabilities as a "distance assuager" might
      also be in order. And of course, and as we all know, good planning and
      location are at the heart of any sustainable transport concept, and so that
      would have to somehow be favored in - though it's likely that we would see
      this above all through the various access and performance indicators that
      would come out of the survey.

      6. FIRST ROUND CANDIDATES: Perhaps as good way as any of getting a running
      start on this will be to look at one or two handfuls of clear candidate
      cities, such as Zurich, Curitiba, Toronto, Portland, Gronigen, Graz, Venice
      (yes Joel, Venice) and, why not?, exactly what they are trying to get done
      in Bogotá. (And I am sure that those of you participating in these lists
      will have other good 'city/template candidates' for this drill.) We can
      then explore these real world situations to develop some guides for the more
      general characteristics that should enter into such a topology/scale. (And I
      am sure that those of you participating in these lists will have other good
      'city/template candidates' for this drill.) In fact, the best approach
      would be to see if we can get one r two people in each of these candidates
      cities (since that is what they are) give a hand in preparing a short
      synopsis which illustrates why their city is 'car free friendly'.

      7 The 2000 Car Free City Honor Roll Awards can be made via high profile
      public announcements - perhaps at time of @World Car Free Day (September 21
      2000) when we anticipate that we will already have the attention of the
      world press and media (as we did in Bogotá in February). We can and should
      also cooperative on this as well with not only all those who are
      participating in the European Car Free Day the next day, but also those
      cities and places that are organizing car-free day projects on other dates
      (including, one might hope, the planned Day in Chengdu in October).

      8. BADGE OF SHAME AWARDS: It may also be an idea to have a look at what
      makes a given town or city a particularly rotten place to live in, if you
      happen to be without a car. And why. Without wishing to be unkind, but
      perhaps a scan of a couple of places like Phoenix, Memphis, Perth (sorry
      Peter, I know that hurts), and the like might which may look good to
      outsiders but where the locals know the situation is pretty rotten (one of
      which just might be London, but there will be others). This last suggests
      that in parallel with the annual CFC Honor Roll we also consider coming up
      with a Badge of Shame Award for 5 or 10 of the world's leading "Car Hostage"
      cities: places in which if you don't have a car you might as well be dead.
      We should be able top find a few of those, and of course if we do this right
      this is exactly the sort of thing that the media laps up.

      9. Let me close with an observation. If you are looking for a single
      activity or indicator that correlates strongly with any given place's 'car
      free friendliness' (we really must find better terms throughout), it's my
      guess that it would be the availability of carsharing as a non-own-car
      option. Why? Well, because carsharing really can only work well where
      there is already 'almost' a car free environment, or at least many of the
      preconditions of this, meaning good public transport, good clustering of
      activities and nodes so that non-motorized transport is a real option for
      many trips, etc. That was, in fact, why at one point we were referring to
      carsharing as the 'missing link in the sustainable transportation system'.

      Might we have a group activity here? Ideas, suggestions, feedback?


      Eric Britton

      The Commons ___ technology, economy, society ___
      Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France
      Eric.Britton@... URL www.ecoplan.org
      Mobile: +336 80 96 78 79
      Voice/Videoconference +331.4441.6340 (1-4)
      Voicemail/Fax hotline: Europe +331 5301 2896
      Voicemail/Fax hotline: North America +1 888 522 6419 (toll free)
    • ecoplan (paris)
      The Sunday call for ideas and support of this concept has received an enthusiastic and informed reception - to the point where we have now set up a special
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 11, 2000
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        The Sunday call for ideas and support of this concept has received an
        enthusiastic and informed reception - to the point where we have now set up
        a special site for the discussions which you can access by going first to
        The Commons at http://www.ecoplan.org and from there clicking CarFree Honor
        Roll on the menu.

        To support the discussions in one convenient place, we have opened up the
        @ccess on the Web Forum at access-forum@egroups.com, which address you can
        use to post letters and materials which may help this group effort. You no
        longer need to sign in or join in order either to post or access the various
        sections of this site. If you have enclosures, however, I would ask you to
        post them to me directly at the below address. Better still, if you can
        just give us the link.

        Again, the goal is to have enough information, structure and common sense in
        hand so that a good pair of lists can be prepared (not to forget the Badge
        of Shame nominees as well) for a high profile announcement on the occasion
        of both the @World Car Free Day on September 21st and the European Car Free
        Day on the 22nd.

        One idea might be to have Country Lists and nominations as well, to spur,
        pinch and push cities on to do better. So often emulation helps do the
        trick, especially when the example, good or horrid, is right close at hand.

        There is quite a bit of work to be done to make this one stick, so if you
        have ideas, time and the will, it will be great to have you join us.


        Eric Britton

        The Commons ___ technology, economy, society ___
        Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France
        Eric.Britton@... URL www.ecoplan.org
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