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Nomination of Hans Monderman for World Technology Award for Environment - Your comments and support invited

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  • Eric Britton
    Dear World Transport Friends, A group of us who are collaborating on the Kyoto World Cities Challenge (http://kyotocities.org ) have
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 4, 2005
      Dear World Transport Friends,

      A group of us who are collaborating on the Kyoto World Cities Challenge
      (http://kyotocities.org <http://kyotocities.org/> ) have got together to
      nominate Hans Monderman with whose work we believe you are quite possibly
      familiar for this year's prestigious World Technology Award for
      Environment.(See http://www.wtn.net/awards.html for details.)

      The nomination consists of a form of several pages which we have carefully
      filled out in Hans's absence (he is presently tied up with family matters)
      and we thought you might wish to see and possible comment on and support
      this nomination. If you turn to http://kyotocities.org you will see the
      full set of draft materials under WTN 2005 Nominations on the left menu. I
      attach my opening statement for the actual nomination (still in draft and
      wide open to your editorial suggestions.)

      It may strike you as strange that we have nominated Hans for his work for
      something that calls itself the World Technology Network and which has as
      its goal to validate and support new technology. But that is our point
      precisely: Hans in his work is telling and showing us in immediately
      understandable real world terms that we need to learn to mesh technology
      with people's needs and aspirations, and not vice versa. This is an
      important point which in our view needs strong and continuing emphasis at a
      time when technology is by and large leading us by the nose, willy-nilly.

      I hope that you will join us in supporting this nomination, and invite you
      to contact me personally at eric.britton@... if you require further
      information or would like to see what we are working on to make this happen.
      If your time is short, I will be pleased to call in to discuss briefly if
      that is more convenient for you: all I need is your phone number and a good
      time to call.

      I hope to hear from you and that you will agree that the path to sustainable
      transport and sustainable cities in this beleaguered world of ours lies in
      our taking initiative after initiative. And getting the word out loud and

      With all good wishes,

      Eric Britton

      Chair, Kyoto World Cities Challenge: 2005-2007

      The Kyoto World Cities Challenge is at http://kyotocities.org

      The Commons Open Agenda is at http://www.ecoplan.org <http://ecoplan.org/>

      Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara 75006 Paris, France

      Tel: Europe: +331 4326 1323 N. America +1 310 601-8468

      E: <mailto:secretariat@...> secretariat@...
      Backup: <mailto:fekbritton@...> fekbritton@...


      Hans Monderman:

      The Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman has over the last years of careful
      work built on three decades of earlier experience in transport/environment
      innovation in the Netherlands, and has taken it to a level that is showing
      the way to cities and neighborhoods around the world. His highly original
      and indisputably successful approach is of the utmost sophistication when it
      comes to the application of technology: he has challenged it to the maxim
      and is leading the way in new thinking about transport, cities, and our

      The "Monderman Model" is worthy of especial consideration in this technology
      forum not only because it succeeds in meeting its ambitious technical,
      environmental and safety targets in a growing number of communities of
      different sizes and types, but also because of the quiet and wise way that
      it encourages us to think about how we introduce and use the power of
      technology in our daily loves, both in our streets and indeed in all the
      corners of our daily lives. As you will see if you read on, he has in effect
      decided to take the approach of a technological minimalist, taking as his
      starting point the search for new ways to achieve key improvements in the
      interrelated areas of road safety, spatial quality, economic prosperity, and
      community capacity and confidence. He takes it as given that motorized
      traffic is likely to remain an essential feature of European economies and
      their spatial fabric for several generations. Against this background, Hans
      has then over the years passed in review all the technologies and practices
      that make up the street scene, and one by one stripped away all those which
      are showing themselves to be insufficient to get the job done or even
      counter-productive. As you will see when you read on, this turns out to be
      a rather long list and the final result looks more like an elegant proof in
      mathematics or chess, or a Bach suite for unaccompanied cello.

      And for those of us who understand that progress in science and society is
      always the result of a stubborn step-wise process in which the lead is taken
      up by those able and ready to build on the past, it is worth noting that
      Hans's accomplishments have deep roots. One of the better known is the Dutch
      Woonerf of "Living Street" project that had its origins in a first wild and
      basically unplanned (but not un-thought out) citizen initiative in Delft in
      1968, and beyond that to scores of projects and demonstrations that have
      been going on in towns and cities around the world ever since the day when
      some of us understood that streets have in fact complex functions which are
      not only served by channeling large chucks of steel and rubber hurtling
      through the urban fabric as their primary contribution to man's well-being.

      To put you into the full picture on this, let me quote from one of his
      British colleagues, Ben Hamilton-Baillie who has been putting some of these
      ideas to work in Britain: "What is so remarkable about the man is that he
      has achieved such a transformation in thinking from the basis of a traffic
      engineer (not a profession famed for its profound thinking and original
      analysis). Through remarkable persistence, patience and professional
      commitment he has managed to put in place well over 100 "shared space"
      schemes, transforming the urban and rural landscape of his native Friesland,
      Groningen and Drenthe. I have never met a man so generous with his time, so
      modest and unassuming about his achievements, and so humane in his
      application of technology to the benefit of everyday human society."

      Within the last year of so, specialist and policy makers from around the
      world have been beating a path to his door as the word gets out of his
      approach and its successes. And while most of them in this first wave of
      international interest have come from other parts of the Netherlands,
      Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Nordic counties, Switzerland, and the UK,
      this is clearly only the beginning. Finally and especially worth of note as
      scientists, technologists, inventors, firms and public agencies are trying
      to come to grips with the fact that our old habits and models are beginning
      to show their limits desperately now that we are multiplying our "first
      world" behaviors by numbers like six billion, the Monderman Model offers an
      approach that can be massively applied in the poorest cities on this
      beleaguered planet, and which moreover builds on practices and lessons which
      are already part of their daily lives. (For more on how this is working on
      the streets of Europe, have a look at
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