Tuesday, March 16, 2010

World Streets / The Resource Base

World Streets has four main functions: (a) It is a specialized daily journal. (b) A collaborative international network. (c) An in-depth international resource. And finally (d) an active lobby for sustainable transportation, sustainable cities and sustainable lives, supporting projects and programs all over the world. Here we introduce the resource/research function which, as you will see, provides exceptionally deep and broad coverage of the sector from a truly international perspective.

Please start here:

We cordially invite you to give this a careful read the first time you come to this site, because this is your key to getting full value from this carefully constructed toolset.

The resource base and toolset introduced here has been specifically pieced together with our readers and their needs in mind. Our readers come from many different parts of the world, with often very different cultures and historical endowments, and levels of available resources for dealing with all these issues that vary hugely. What they have in common is that overwhelmingly they either work with cities or public agencies concerned with matters of transportation, environment, city development, land use, public health, etc., or are activists or researchers, professors or students, operators or regulators, consultants or concerned citizens. Or are representatives of the media, new and old.

These are the kinds of people and institutions who we have set out to serve.

How to make best use of the site and toolset:

The blog itself is divided into two main sections. The one that most people are immediately aware of and turn their eye to is the larger central column which presents the main content of the daily newspaper. That is our intention.

However, day after day, month after month the sheer quantity of articles and commentaries that appear here tend to gradually enter into something which is analogous to a close drawer on your desk. It is there, it is maybe important for you at some point, but how to get at it when you need it? That is the second part of our challenge.

So to this end, we will focus here entirely on the smaller column just to your left here, the "rest of the iceberg" if you will. This turns out to be a bit more complicated and is worth introducing carefully so that you can get best use of it. We are confident that the time you invest to familiarize yourself initially with this extensive tool set will be well compensated.

Let us start by simply listing the main headings/categories. that constitute the resource base. And then once you have a quick look at the overall collection we can then examine each in turn and in more detail.

Here is the overall listing as it stands at this date:

1. First time visitor ABC's
2. World Streets in World Languages
3. Search World Streets: 2009/2010
4. The latest from World Streets
5. Featured series for (month)
6. Featured video clips for (month)
7. Latest news from the world's streets (Headlines and links)
8. Editorial/volunteer team
9. New Mobility building blocks
10. Subscribe, support World Streets 2010
11. Free daily delivery: RSS
12. New Mobility combined search engine
13. World Streets weekly archives
14. Search all key sources (See below)s
15. Key sources, links, and blogs
16. World Streets sentinels
17. World Streets correspondents
18. In Memoriam
19. They are talking about . . .
20. (Some draft sections)

Now going into more detail:

It is our hope that the entire process will be sufficiently well labeled and logical that most of our readers will simply be able to click through them to see where they lead. But we thought it might be useful as well if we supply some more detailed indications, which is what we shall now do, taking each in the indicated order.

1. FIRST TIME VISITOR ABC'S - This important introductory section is divided in turn into five parts:

A. Start here / The Brief- This 4 page/4 minute introduction is proposed is must reading if the readers to understand fundamentally what this initiative is all about. It is a fast read, quickly setting out the main defining points and characteristics of World Streets, and the New Mobility Agenda just behind it.

B. New Mobility / The Strategy -- Plan A: Goals, strategy, building blocks. Once again we propose this as an essential read for the first time reader, since it sets out the basic issues and political philosophy that underlie entire approach and selection of the journal. This is not just any collection of "interesting articles" that involve issues of transport in and around cities. It is about sustainable transportation quite strictly defined. Please read.

C. World Streets / The Resource (this page)

D. Expert views / The reaction -- 101 readers report their critical views on World Streets. Replaces here because we believe it provides important perspective from readers with high expertise in many areas and for many parts of the world. As editors we can tell you how good we think we are all day long, but these words from entirely independent people provide you with something you can count on.

E. Implementation / Now what: -- contribute, subscribe, support, get involved in making World Streets of success. This is for us an extremely important section, though life being what it is and timing as short as it is, we have to keep in mind that many readers will be too busy to give this their attention. We hope you will, because your collaboration is part of what is needed to make this collaborative venture work. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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2. WORLD STREETS IN WORLD LANGUAGES
This is tricky, but very important. It is easy to have prejudices on this in terms of the violence of the translations can do to your language; but be patient, there is more to it than that. There is a language reality out there of which many people working in the field internationally are not necessarily aware. And that is that the bulk of the people on this planet who are involved in transportation policy and practice in any given place where English is not the primary language, simply do not have the time to devote to reading articles, even summaries of articles, that are in something other than their main working language. That is a reality. But since World Streets has the pretension of being a truly worldwide cross-cultural source, we have tried to figure out how to make some kind of inroads into this seemingly intractable problem. With that in mind and making use of this borrowed toolset, from our very first day of publication we have tried to take advantage of best available technology in order to provide workable translations for the roughly 6,000,000,000 people on this planet for whom English is not their main working language. For more on this, have a look at http://tinyurl.com/ws-languages .

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3. SEARCH WORLD STREETS: 2009/2010
Remember our analogy that the past content of World streets runs the risk of being equivalents of potentially interesting papers and reports that are caught in a closed-door of your desk? As an example as of March 2010 have been more than 500 articles and commentaries published in the course of the first year. But these are not just articles were given day, but potential resources. This search function scans via your selection of keywords the entire contents of World Streets from its inception. The same familiar approach as for Google. Try when you need it and we think you will not be disappointed. (In other parts of this resource section you will see additional Combined Search Engines which we have created to scan the contents of hundreds of related sources worldwide. You will see more on that below.)

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4. THE LATEST FROM WORLD STREETS .
This tool sets out two searches, the first of which calls up the latest articles appearing in the journal with the most recent up top, while the second is the same for your comments.

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5. FEATURED SERIES FOR (MONTH)
The items under this heading vary from month to month depending on the goals and orientation of the overall program in that period. In all cases however they are standardized to the extent that the first item calls up the World Streets Monthly Report for the last full month, while the last item -- Check out (month's) featured clips -- provides an introduction to the selected video clips for the month, which appear immediately below and are directly clickable.

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6. FEATURED VIDEO CLIPS FOR (MONTH)
because we live in a multimedia world, and because in order to advance the sustainable transportation agenda we have to take advantage of every tool at our disposal, this section presents each month a selection of short videos which we propose for viewing, perhaps during your coffee break. As you can imagine, we give careful thought to the selection.

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7. LATEST NEWS FROM THE WORLD'S STREETS (HEADLINES AND LINKS
In the big and varied world in which we live the concept of creative linking is a very important one. On the other hand we must be extremely careful since, given the enormous wealth and great facility of making these contacts, you can always end up connecting to everything, and then at the end of the day have no time to do your own work. So in this case what we decided to do is to select a total of a dozen sources of news, generating for the most part daily news, which treat in various ways the main issues to which World Streets is dedicated. (Not necessarily reflecting our views and priorities but working energetically to make these issues and trade-offs better known.

The idea is that our readers will be able to run down that list in a minute or two, and then if they spot something that appears to be possibly relevant for their work, all they have to do is click to it and the original source will be at their service. And if you wish to see more from that source, you can also find them listed in the "Key Sources" section just below. There is considerable variety in the range and tgype of sources selected here, but that is as it must be in a world in which issues are complex and the answers are sure to be surprising. Let us use our peripheral vision to make sure we are not missing anything important.

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8. EDITORIAL/VOLUNTEER TEAM
This short section introduces the team of volunteers who are cooperating to lead and support this independent and until now largely unfunded effort in support of sustainable transport worldwide. The second part of this listing provides information such as guidelines for contributors, comments on fair use, and a rough shopping list setting out some of the technical and other innovations and competences that we would hope to build and program without too much delay.

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9. NEW MOBILITY BUILDING BLOCKS
-> Marquee: This running display has been set up in order to give someone who is sufficiently curious a review of the way that we view the main components and delivery modes that together constitute the New Mobility Agenda. Admittedly it is almost impossible to read in its present form, but the content is important and will be the subject of articles and clarification in the near future. The bottom line point is this: the future of transport and cities is not a question of cars used in the old way and/or public transit is delivered in the old way. There is a lot more to it than that, which indeed is what World Streets is all about. To continue.

-> Behind World Streets: the New Mobility Agenda: world streets is basically the unified publishing arm of the New Mobility Agenda, whose numerous programs, libraries, message services, and links feed into the Journal and provide it with much of its backing and content.

-> Knoogle search > 800 selected world sources: Knoogle is the Combined Search Engine and specialized knowledge browser that we initiated in 2008 and have subsequently continued to develop it into a search tool which provides access to a very large number of carefully selected sources dealing with sustainable transportation and sustainable cities worldwide.

-> Meet the World Streets Sentinels: The "sentinels" are colleagues working in this field around the world who have agreed to share with us their findings and observations within their cities and countries. (This program is and will continue to be under development.)

-> Read Nuova Mobilità: Nuova Mobilità is our sister publication, the first in what we hope will develop into a series of affiliated projects aiming to provide useful materials on our topic to professionals and others working in that country and language group. The site is in Italian, however on the upper left you will see there is the possibility of into English or other language of your choice. We invite you to drop in and have a look from time to time to see how our Italian sisters and brothers look at the challenges of sustainable transportation.

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10. SUBSCRIBE, SUPPORT WORLD STREETS 2010
This section invites our readers to be part of the solution and to join in to support this collaborative program through financial contributions, their willingness to work with us to find sponsors, their availability for writing articles and other forms of technical support, and in general joining in this international collaborative effort. The very important part of this concerns are invitation for readers who share our values to set forth in order to work with us as ambassadors in order to help us intensify and contact organizations known to them, and in particular within their own countries, for future collaboration and exchange.

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11. FREE DAILY DELIVERY: RSS
One click access to setting up your preferred RSS feeds for both articles and comments.

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12. NEW MOBILITY COMBINED SEARCH ENGINE
Just before we get to the Journal's archives, which organized by week and year, we thought it would be useful to place another search engine which gives the reader the choice of looking through those archives directory, clicking on yet more general look through the very large number of sources that are covered by our Knoogle knowledge browser. Or more generally the full Web.

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13. WORLD STREETS WEEKLY ARCHIVES
Every week somewhere between five and seven new articles are posted, and these archives are intended to be handy to check out daily postings going all the way back to the first edition in March 2009. In most cases when one is referencing anything more than a week or two back, unless you know the approximate date, probably the best way to locate the items you are looking for is via the preceding search engine. Another excellent possibility is to use the key word items that are associated with each article.

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14. SEARCH ALL KEY SOURCES (SEE LISTING JUST BELOW)
Yet another search engine, this time aiming at the more than 200 carefully selected sources that are listed just below. So put in other words, if you are curious as to what this collection of outstanding sources as to say on any given subject, you have a very simple tool here in order to carry out your research.

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15. KEY SOURCES, LINKS, AND BLOGS
This is a potential gold mine for researchers. We give great importance to this collection of sources and are continuously soliciting our readers to review them and suggest further additions, or if they feel the source is not up to the standard to be dropped from the listing. At the time this page was prepared there were some 204 sources identified on that list, all available with a single click. And all fully searchable through the preceding customized search engine.

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16. WORLD STREETS SENTINELS
This world map identifies the first one hundred-plus people working in more than forty countries on all continents who have stepped forward with offers to share with all interested latest information and clues from their cities, good news and bad news that has perhaps lessons for others. This listing is continually in process, and recommendations for qualified people are much appreciated. (For more, click here - http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/2009/03/world-streets-correspondents.html )

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17. WORLD STREETS CORRESPONDENTS
List of some of the people reporting on projects, problems, etc. in their cities in different parts of the world. (Ever in process)

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18. IN MEMORIUM
If you are familiar with the work of these pioneering figures, you will understand why we are here and working to build on the foundation they have so generously given us.

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19. THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT . . .
this is not a particularly sophisticated collection of links, but we at least find some use in reviewing them from time to time to get a better feel for the extent to which World streets, Nuova Mobilità and the New Mobility Agenda are being referenced or in the news.

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20. TABLE OF CONTENTS (working draft)
This is at this point a catch-all with ideas for bits and pieces to be integrated, perhaps, into the resource base at an appropriate time

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# # #

Dear reader.

I have to admit it. This has been a long slog, for us to write and you to read. But that is exactly what sustainability is all about: new mental architecture, carefully thought-out philosophy, breadth of vision, consistent criteria, great energy, unremitting discipline, deep collaboration, and an ability to hang in there for the long slog. This is not a job for lazy people. :-)

Eric Britton
Editor, World Streets

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