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Re: [carfree_cities] Getting there - via assymetric churn

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  • Simon Baddeley
    The large plans are important over an extended period but first of all the act of appreciation (Geoffrey Vickers Art of Judgement: A Study in Policy
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 19, 2000
      The large plans are important over an extended period but first of all the
      act of "appreciation" (Geoffrey Vickers "Art of Judgement: A Study in Policy
      Making") is required which gradually permeates the professions and the
      political classes and then as the decades proceed in a thousand different
      ways and with awareness of cross-cutting issues the change permeates
      behaviour and attitudes and becomes part of a new common sense. I shan't
      live to see it but this is only germination time for carfree cities. Big
      plans are anathema, big dreams of course are not.

      This quote from a Transport Planning Society meeting at the UK Institution
      of Civil Engineers, 22.7.1999 catches the spirit of policy makers cueing a
      multiplicity of effects based on accumulating individual choices (Zen and
      the Art of Transportation Policy?):

      "... If we want to encourage a reduced use of cars and greater use of
      alternatives - which isn’t the whole strategy, but is certainly part of it -
      the concept of
      ‘changing behaviour’ needs to be very carefully defined, because behaviour
      is changing
      radically all the time, sometimes for reasons which are very distant from
      transport policy.

      That’s where the Guardian’s mum’s manifesto is right and wrong (a reference
      to the UK newspaper
      which ran a story about a mother trying to walk her children to school in
      London traffic). Of course expecting
      somebody to rearrange the complexities of domestic schedules overnight is
      unrealistic. But
      that same person will - on their own initiative - have to rearrange their
      own schedule
      drastically every time one of the children starts school, or changes school,
      anybody else in the
      household changes job. Domestic and work constraints are incredibly binding
      at any moment
      of time - at all moments of time - but they change over time and that’s what
      makes it possible
      to intervene.

      I would say that the only successful pathway to substantial change in
      behaviour at the aggregate level is by intervening to secure an ‘asymmetric
      pattern of churn’.
      It means that we should stop talking in terms of encouraging people to stop
      driving and start
      using public transport - but seeking to increase a little the numbers of
      people who are already,
      every year, doing exactly that in huge numbers, and reducing a little the
      numbers of people
      who are already, every year, doing exactly the opposite, in equally huge

      Those are two quite separate decision processes, and they have to be
      targeted separately. The irony of it
      is that our standard models do not even recognise the existence of either
      The significance of this approach - broadly - is that changes are bigger,
      and easier, but slower,
      than has been traditionally assumed. Now if that’s true - and of course you
      may not agree with
      this - but if it is, then it does have a profound importance for the
      assessment of success, and
      for the setting of realistic targets, and for the policies that we have to
      set in place now in order
      to secure effects later." ....

      See also P B Goodwin "Solving Congestion", Inaugural Lecture for the
      Professorship of Transport Policy, University College London, 23 October
      1997 <http://www.tps.org.uk/> and the paper from which I quoted the above: P
      B Goodwin "Action or Inertia? One year on from 'A New Deal for Transport' ",
      Transport Planning Society meeting at the Institution of Civil Engineers,
      22/7/99 also at <http://www.tps.org.uk/> Phil Goodwin was the chair of the
      committee that helped produce the UK Government's 1999 "New Deal" White

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Randall Hunt <randhunt@...>
      To: carfree_cities@egroups.com <carfree_cities@egroups.com>
      Date: 19 April 2000 17:51
      Subject: [carfree_cities] Getting there

      >>>As long as the auto is king (however it is powered) our cities will
      >>>continue to sprawl...
      >Simon Baddeley wrote:
      >>Yes. The auto-city tends towards being an agglomeration of sprawling
      >>buildings without a focal point or indeed any logically organised
      >>infrastructure of schools, places of entertainment, places for worship,
      >>parks, community gardens, avenues or squares. The much lauded freedom of
      >>car was that you didn't have to plonk these things in a place for walkers
      >>transit users might gather by converging on a cluster of such features
      >>linked to other such centres by a transit route stop.
      >OK. For the sake of argument, suppose your team has a plan for the entire
      >city: a logically organised infrastructure of schools, places of
      >entertainment, places for worship, parks, community gardens, etc. If you
      >were King and wanted to get to that point, how would you do it? Would you
      >tear down and rebuild what exists or would you build it from scratch?
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