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Re: WorldTransport Forum "Reinventing transport in cities" - Candidate cities for future independent tea

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  • Lee Schipper
    Eric is on to two important ideas 1. Modest sized cities may simply be more manageable than huge ones, even if by some accounts less dense cities appear to
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 7, 2007
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      Eric is on to two important ideas
      1. Modest sized cities may simply be more manageable than huge ones, even if by some accounts less dense cities appear to have higher CO2 emissions per capita from transport (and from larger homes).

      2. Mayors may be willing to sign all kinds of documents, MoUs, join clubs, etc. So do private companies. Some of the same companies that signed the Sustainable Mobility Project of the World Business Council, which identified growing fossil fuel use and CO2 emissions from cars as a real threat, are preparing to oppose various proposals for tighter fuel economy legislation in the US. Leaving aside whether any of the current proposals is "best",

      1. Why are companies fighting?
      2. What concrete proposals do THEY have for reducing CO2 emissions from cars?
      3. And don't say ethanol or biofuels...

      The lessons may be summed up by paraphrasing a critic of Pres. Bush statements on climate last week -- don't sign on to something you say you will do tomorrow Verify something you changed yesterday!

      What the 5 cities below seem to have had for a long time is exactly what Eric identifies, a serious fabric for making themselves livable, for taming transportation. Within this framework dealing with CO2 emissions is much easier to hang on to existing policies than simply signing up for a group or club or new study!

      >>> "Eric Britton (Fr)" <eric.britton@...> 6/7/2007 5:30:14 AM
      >>>
      As we roll ever so deliberately toward conclusion of the first volume in
      this series, "New Mobility in Paris: Action agenda for a sustainable city"
      (latest summary attached), we are hearing from friends around the world
      notes suggestions that we might do well to see if we might in the near
      future organize or inspire similar independent "case studies/audits" along
      these lines, reporting n the experience, results and means of making it work
      from a certain number of other leading cities.

      And since we appear to have the attention of the Clinton Climate Initiative
      team, and to a lesser extent (for now) that of the CG 40 Large Cities
      Climate group, this may be a useful opportunity for all of those of us who
      fret over these matters and are sure that our cities can do a lot better. It
      is nice for a change to have a high visibility international forum. But at
      the same time it is important that we are rigorously honest and hard headed
      about our analyses and recommendations.

      Here are the latest suggestions that have come in concerning cities that are
      well worth looking at more closely in this context.:

      * Graz
      * Stuttgart
      * La Rochelle
      * Freiburg im Breisgau
      * Groningen

      What these exceptional performing cities have in common is not that they are
      executing or trying one or two good ideas, but that the overall fabric of
      their transport policy, investments, etc. are combining to make real
      difference to the people who live and work in them. It is the manner in
      which they are simultaneously managing and achieving linked, multiple and
      synergistic measures (s we are seeing in the Paris case) that makes them
      particularly worth of attention. And prudent adaptation and emulation. That
      plus the high levels of professionalism that are involved, long term
      commitment (including commitment to short term improvements), and the
      relationship between the population as a whole and their leaders.

      There are of course others, but at the end of the day not all that many,
      really. Most cities in the world are not only dramatically failing the
      Clinton CO2 etc test - i.e., they are doing each day worse on aggregate
      despite their pretensions to the contrary - but they are as well locked into
      the habits of old mobility thinking, investment and execution. Which of
      course only make things ever worse. Anyway . . .

      Question 1. Exemplary cities? So my first question . . . can you suggest
      yet other pioneering cities that are blazing the way, of a sort that might
      serve as examples for the Clinton Climate Initiative and the C40 large
      cities groups so that they can pick up these flames and run with them? The
      world is in such howling need of good examples -- and one of the real tricks
      is of course to find ways to generalize usefully from these exceptional
      experiences. Let me take one simple example/challenge. If Slow Zones (30
      kph) are working so well in many Europe cities, what does this mean for
      Houston, Manila, Dubai or Kinshasa? Good idea maybe, but HOW to make it
      stick in such hostile environments (including the hostile mental environment
      behind the decisions that are taken) .

      Question 2. Local partners? n each case we are going to have to find strong
      local partners to work with, of course. Moreover, and this is the
      fundamental truth of the viability of all this, the investigating teams must
      be fully independent of any and all external influence including that of the
      city authorities, and any eventual agencies , sponsors or interests.
      (Otherwise it simply will not work and become one more exercise of
      self-publicity.) So if you have an example of a city, what about your ideas
      for local partners?

      Question 3. Cities in deep trouble: And what about your ideas for some
      cities that are in deep trouble as far as their mobility agenda and practice
      is concerned. Once again strong local team support will be critical. And
      full independence. There are as it happens a huge number of cities in this
      howling sad shape - sad for the planet and sad for many of the people who
      live in them and who may not even be aware of how poorly they are doing in
      this respect. (I for example will be in the States next month and while
      there will be giving some presentations and initial brainstorming visits
      based on the Paris project and the rest. I would love to find a way to get
      together with some of the local groups and do something in a city like New
      Orleans, which is badly in need of an entirely new mobility paradigm. But
      there are others and your suggestions there too will be most welcome.

      Question 4. Cities in Eastern Europe: Where new models are desperately
      needed as they navigate their economic and social changes, almost always
      firmly locked into the old mobility models..

      Question 5. Your city: What if anything can we do with this approach to make
      a difference in your city? And if so, where do we start?

      That's it for today. It will be good to hear from you on this, either to me
      in private or if you feel that your thoughts are going to be useful to the
      group as a whole, let me suggest that you address your comments to the New
      Mobility Idea Factory via NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com

      Eric Britton
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