Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Not-Sustainable Transport Library
(A final resting place for those really bad "green" ideas)

We have just today created a new forum under the New Mobility Agenda. It is called The Not Sustainable Transport Library, and the idea is to create a nice warm place in which we can stack articles and sources on what we think are very poor transportation/environment proposals - often technology rich and rarely cheap - that present themselves as "the next great green idea" for our cities and the planet. Watch out for the doctor!

If you can't figure out what a bad idea is, how can you ever expect to find a good. one? Or as Henry Ford so famously said so long ago in "My Years in Industry" (1928), "of all the kinds of work I know thinking is certainly the hardest. And I guess that's why most people do so little of it." Amen.

The Not-Sustainable Transport Library:

From the introductory text of the library site:

In this shared space we shall attempt to provide a comfortable resting place for a certain number of what we hope will serve as telling examples of things not to be fooled by: information on and leads to transport related projects, proposals and technologies that are very often presented (hyped may be a better word) by those who stand to gain from their implementations as advancing the sustainability agenda -- but which in our view are at best extremely low in the priories for public sector support in any form, and certainly not candidates for finance with hard-earned taxpayer money.

There can be no doubt that there is a very definite set of values and priorities behind these selections. (Some may call them prejudices). They are, I might add, strong and they are, moreover, consistent. The basics behind these selections you will finally amply spelled out here in the pages of World Streets and behind that over at the New Mobility Agenda. For a quick resume a visit to our four page/four minute summary should help fill out the basic background on all this.

Are these really such awful ideas? That's not our point. To the contrary, almost all of them are interesting in many respects, a fair number of them are highly ingenious, and just about all of them have been the object of hard work, brains and dreams. Please do check them out if you have the time, and there may be circumstances in which they could work very well indeed. It is just that we do not see them as leading the way to more sustainable transport and a less hyper-charged planet given our extreme timetable. For that quite another approach is called for.

If you wish to have a look at the full collection, the library address is It is open 24/7 and very quiet.

We are interested to have your news on candidate projects and proposals that you think shoudl be laid to rest in this calm place. For this, an email to should do it quite nicely. And to comment on any of these projects, you can always post your message to that same address.

Otherwise, to subscribe:

And to unsubscribe:

Finally when you check into World Streets you will see that we have a left menu item entitled "Latest World Streets News Leads", and in addition to the ten serious sources, you will find our bad idea graveyard there, with a quick line on the latest to enter those fiery gates.

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