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The Politics of Defining the Debate

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  • Lanyon, Ryan
    It never ceases to amaze me how progressive terminology gets adopted and redefined by others, particularly from the right, to redefine the debate. We in
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 3, 2004
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      It never ceases to amaze me how progressive terminology gets adopted and
      redefined by others, particularly from the right, to redefine the debate.
      We in Ontario recently had a 'Smart Growth' project from our provincial
      government that included rural economic development and highway building
      (luckily that government got tossed).

      In the latest chapter, the auto industry is seeking to redefine 'sustainable
      transportation'. The report below is from Centerlines, the newsletter of
      the national center for bicycling and walking in the US.

      -RL

      CAR COMPANIES: BIKE/PED-FREE "SUSTAINABLE TRANS"

      -> Earlier this month, the World Business Council for Sustainable
      Development (WBCSD), led by 12 international car, oil and tire
      companies, released their vision of a global sustainable transportation
      future. In a WBCSD report, entitled 'Mobility 2030: Meeting the
      Challenges to Sustainability,' they define sustainable mobility as "the
      ability to meet the needs of society to move freely, gain access,
      communicate, trade and establish relationships without sacrificing
      other essential human or ecological values today or in the future."

      The authors find accessible, sustainable and affordable mobility to be
      compatible with auto-dependency. Sadly, bicycling and walking are not
      part of their vision as they see cities -- particularly those in the
      developing world -- continuing to grow in area and decline in density.
      They believe that new technology, principally road vehicles with
      automatic driving capabilities will create new transport systems. One
      quote notes "the car has radically reshaped cities because it
      eliminates walking almost entirely."

      A variety of materials, including the main report, may be found here:
      http://www.wbcsd.org/Plugins/DocSearch/details.asp?strDocTypeIdList=749&DocT
      ype=749&StrCharValList=&DateStart=01.01.1753&DateEnd=31.12.9999&MenuId=Mzcx&
      DocId=6097&URLBack=%2Ftemplates%2FTemplateWBCSD2%2Flayout%2Easp%3Ftype%3Dp%2
      6MenuId%3DMzcx%26doOpen%3D1%26ClickMenu%3DRightMenu
    • Simon Baddeley
      Yes but. Smart growth was rather a successful colonisation by our lot of the language and style of the sprawlists. It s a feature of political movements to
      Message 2 of 3 , Aug 3, 2004
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        Yes but. "Smart growth" was rather a successful colonisation by "our lot" of
        the language and style of the sprawlists. It's a feature of political
        movements to invade, purloin and otherwise recycle the language of the
        opposition and then be accused of lying distortion to the delight of the
        thieves who by such reaction know they've made a hit. In a snowball fight
        don't you pick up those spent by the other side and throw them back?
        Compressed? Enlarged? More rounded? Sometimes (not me this!) with hard
        object inserted?

        To stay in a debate we constantly rewrite the truths we perceive as
        self-evident - because they never really are. "Greenwash" was quite a good
        word and on the other side "eco-terrorists" for people who campaign
        non-violently action against polluters, not to mention "tree-huggers". Of
        course the most successfully damaged word in the American political scene is
        "liberal". I have a liking for the word "speedophile" for hypermobility
        addicts but "auto-dependency" is a good one isn't it, along with petrol
        heads"? As well as the words there's the constant invention of ideas - lie
        "motorists use up their extra-safety on speed" which is spawned by the still
        contested concept of "risk compensation".

        We are working hard in UK to downgrade the universal use of the word
        "accident" when people are killed and maimed by motorised traffic, as
        though' these crashes and collisions and their consequences were not the
        result of human choice, irresponsibility and sometimes outright criminal
        negligence.

        So if you think your being appropriated, remember its only your own good
        methods being played back. ".. words are wise men¹s counters,‹they do but
        reckon by them; but they are the money of fools." Thomas Hobbes

        Best

        Simon



        On 3/8/04 6:01 pm, "Lanyon, Ryan" <ryan.lanyon@...> wrote:

        > It never ceases to amaze me how progressive terminology gets adopted and
        > redefined by others, particularly from the right, to redefine the debate.
        > We in Ontario recently had a 'Smart Growth' project from our provincial
        > government that included rural economic development and highway building
        > (luckily that government got tossed).
        >
        > In the latest chapter, the auto industry is seeking to redefine 'sustainable
        > transportation'. The report below is from Centerlines, the newsletter of
        > the national center for bicycling and walking in the US.
      • Greg Steele
        You are right about the appropriation of words. And it is a serious issue. The lordly right of giving names extends so far that one should allow oneself to
        Message 3 of 3 , Aug 9, 2004
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          You are right about the appropriation of words. And it is a serious
          issue.

          The lordly right of giving names extends so far that one should allow
          oneself to conceive the origin of language itself as an expression of
          power on the part of the rulers: they say `this is this and
          this,'they seal every thing and event with a sound and, as it
          were, take possession of it.
          (Nietzsche, p. 462)

          I don't see a need to use words like, "new- or neo-" or
          even transit oriented. The words city and urban have had a long
          accepted meaning.

          Between 10,000 and 7,000 years ago, the first cities were settled in
          the Middle East. From then until the middle of the nineteenth
          century, the form of cites everywhere was based on walking.
          (Newman & Kenworthy, p. 27-28)

          The onerous is on them to coin new terms for the new arrangement that
          has resulted from the automobile – fortunately, such a word
          exists it is "sprawl."

          The traditional neighborhood and suburban sprawl… are polar
          opposites in appearance, function, and character: they look
          different, they act differently, and they affect us in different ways.
          (Duany, p. 3)

          Example of such word stealing on a major scale are Garreau's Edge
          City, which really is just sprawl at a cancerous scale.

          Edge Cities exemplify the new mix of urbanity… any place that is
          a trade, employment, and entertainment center of vast magnitude is
          functionally a city.
          (Garreau, p. 25-26)

          This is nothing new, the Radiant City/Garden City/City Beautiful were
          all misappropriations of the word city.

          Reguards,
          Greg



          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, Simon Baddeley
          <s.j.baddeley@b...> wrote:
          > Yes but. "Smart growth" was rather a successful colonisation
          by "our lot" of
          > the language and style of the sprawlists. It's a feature of
          political
          > movements to invade, purloin and otherwise recycle the language of
          the
          > opposition and then be accused of lying distortion to the delight
          of the
          > thieves who by such reaction know they've made a hit. In a snowball
          fight
          > don't you pick up those spent by the other side and throw them back?
          > Compressed? Enlarged? More rounded? Sometimes (not me this!) with
          hard
          > object inserted?
          >
          > To stay in a debate we constantly rewrite the truths we perceive as
          > self-evident - because they never really are. "Greenwash" was quite
          a good
          > word and on the other side "eco-terrorists" for people who campaign
          > non-violently action against polluters, not to mention "tree-
          huggers". Of
          > course the most successfully damaged word in the American political
          scene is
          > "liberal". I have a liking for the word "speedophile" for
          hypermobility
          > addicts but "auto-dependency" is a good one isn't it, along with
          petrol
          > heads"? As well as the words there's the constant invention of
          ideas - lie
          > "motorists use up their extra-safety on speed" which is spawned by
          the still
          > contested concept of "risk compensation".
          >
          > We are working hard in UK to downgrade the universal use of the word
          > "accident" when people are killed and maimed by motorised traffic,
          as
          > though' these crashes and collisions and their consequences were
          not the
          > result of human choice, irresponsibility and sometimes outright
          criminal
          > negligence.
          >
          > So if you think your being appropriated, remember its only your own
          good
          > methods being played back. ".. words are wise men¹s
          counters,‹they
          do but
          > reckon by them; but they are the money of fools." Thomas Hobbes
          >
          > Best
          >
          > Simon
          >
          >
          >
          > On 3/8/04 6:01 pm, "Lanyon, Ryan" <ryan.lanyon@o...> wrote:
          >
          > > It never ceases to amaze me how progressive terminology gets
          adopted and
          > > redefined by others, particularly from the right, to redefine the
          debate.
          > > We in Ontario recently had a 'Smart Growth' project from our
          provincial
          > > government that included rural economic development and highway
          building
          > > (luckily that government got tossed).
          > >
          > > In the latest chapter, the auto industry is seeking to
          redefine 'sustainable
          > > transportation'. The report below is from Centerlines, the
          newsletter of
          > > the national center for bicycling and walking in the US.
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