Monthly Archives: January 2012

From the editor: Safe Streets? Who cares?

It is a truly dreadful thing for anyone, me for instance, to lay on you anything as hackneyed as: a picture is worth a thousand words. But let me show you a couple of pictures and leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. The topic is the first round of reactions to our ongoing 2012 collaborative project aiming at clarifying the concept of Safe Streets from a strategic planning and policy perspective. Continue reading


Carlos Pardo on Slow(er) transport?

I was thinking that, since the concept of “slow” has been around for a while, but applied to concepts such as food and “living” in general, one could think of applying it to transport policies and projects… that is, create the term “slow transport” or “slower transport”, but responsibly. Below are some notes that could generate ideas towards that direction: where the concept comes from, why and how we can apply it, and some obstacles or possible problems. I will be as brief as possible, since I could write for ages about this. My main concern would be to develop a (or yet another) way of justifying the promotion and development of sustainable transport. And my main worry is that we could just generate a new empty term related to urban transport (we have enough already). Continue reading

On Private Space, Public Space, Social Space . . . and Stuttgart Safe Streets Conference 2012

Jan Gehl a few decades back encouraged us to think more about “the space between buildings”, as we pondered how we want our cities to look and function. And within this broader frame, most of us have been pretty comfortable thinking about this between-building space as either public space or private space.  But real life in a city is a lot more complicated than that, and in July of 2011 in Stuttgart a couple of hundred  of us from some forty countries, North and South, East and West,  got together for a few days under the aegis of the 2011 Cities for Mobility Congress to take apart and discuss from many points of view the third dimension, namely that of social space. Continue reading

Safer Streets LA – Wrap a couple of spare neurons around this one

In the first quarter of our 2012 collaborative project on Safe Streets, we promised that we were going to keep eyes, ears and brains open to the fullest possible range of ideas, approaches and policies that promise, each in their own way, to somehow take on and perhaps do something about increasing the safety of our streets. Of course, we have our own ideas on this topic (who doesn’t?), but it seems preferable before sounding off from the bully pit to see if we might first challenge our thinking and in that process collect information and views from the wide variety of perspectives, including those which at first glance seem to be probably pretty unpromising.  All this in harmony with our long-held belief that “you never know where the next good idea is going to come from”. Continue reading

Roads vs. Streets: Wherein the greater danger?

Michael Blastland plays around with some statistics, usefully!, on roads vs. streets when it comes to accidents and safety  in this article that appeared in today’s BBC magazine. (Click here for his article in full and here for the  often quite stinging comments that it has triggered.)  Ours here is quite another focus, but it is interesting to keep our eyes open for short pieces like this.

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Geetam Tiwari on Pro-Poor Green Urban Transport

In this ten minute video Professor Tiwari takes a useful step back from the usual pure transport and all too often dominant technology/infrastructure perspective, taking us back for starters to the fundamentals of what is going on at the level of city dynamics and the daily lives of the vast. of the neglected great majority of all who live and need to get around in the cities in her great and sprawling country. She comes down hard on past policies that have heavily favored the well to do, while all too systematically ignoring the daily needs of the rest. And that of course is unsustainable. Let’s listen to what she has to say:

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John W. Verity on New Scare City

It’s a fictional streetscape we wander, here, a metropolis whose buildings, boulevards, and back alleys are in a constant state of flux. This is every place, and yet, no place at all – a city of dreams and a dream of a city. Continue reading

Safe Streets 2012: Opening brainstorm, invitation and stretching exercise

Here we are, it suddenly 2012, and time to get down to work on Q1 of the 2012 Safe Streets Challenge. This first quarter is to be given over to reaching out: making contacts and collecting information, ideas, analysis and points of view concerning alternative concepts, approaches and examples, in the hope that we will eventually be identifying and drawing attention to a very broad range of useful things to consider and study together in the hope of rendering our streets safer, more convivial and more efficient (bearing in mind that we also need to be a eternally vigilant when it comes to “more efficient” for whom and what).

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