Monday, February 1, 2010

World Streets goes to the movies
What's playing in February 2010

A new series inaugurated on 1 February, presenting a selection of outstanding videos, to be renewed over the year on a monthly basis. The idea is to invite our readers to check in from time to time to view some very different kinds of presentations and topics, with the objective of stimulating even greater variety in their thinking and problem-solving approaches. And to propose clips and ideas of their own.

You can find the small gadget that makes this work a bit down on the left column to the site. We have tried hard to make it transparent and easy to use. Each month you will find there a set of five selected short videos or extracts from films of TV programs, each running from less than a minute to a bit more than five for the longest. You can use view them either in the small box which appears on the home page, or alternatively click the rightmost control on the bottom control panel which will bring up the video full screen.

The selection for February includes:

1. "Homage to Hans Monderman", a video lasting barely 80 seconds, made by our old friend and colleague Robert Stussi on the occasion of a visit to the city of Groningen in the Netherlands during the course of a two-day workshop organized by and in honor of our late and much admired colleague Hans Monderman. The person whom you see surging into the foreground was someone who simply showed up to say his piece when he saw the film being made. It turned out that he is an architect and local resident, as you can tell from his remarks, a fervent admirer of what the city is doing.

2. "Contested Streets" is a documentary produced by the New York City advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, exploring the rich diversity of New York City street life before the introduction of automobiles and shows how New York can follow the example of other modern cities that have reclaimed their streets as vibrant public spaces. Central to the story is a comparison of New York to what is experienced in London, Paris and Copenhagen. Interviews and footage shot in these cities showcase how limiting automobile use in recent years has improved air quality, minimized noise pollution and enriched commercial, recreational and community interaction. London's congestion pricing scheme, Paris' BRT (bus rapid transit) and Copenhagen's bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are all examined in depth. The 57 minute film was premiered in New York City on 27 June 2006 and is presently available for purchase at cost from Transportation Alternatives.

3. Happy Birthday Vélib. A film by the excellent NYC Streetfilms program, this recent classic provides a good background statement showing how the world biggest public bicycle project works. It just may make you want to come to Paris to try it out for yourself. Streetfilms produces videos that show how cities around the world are reclaiming their streets for pedestrians, cyclists and transit riders.

4. “Well, sir, there’s nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified six-car Monorail!” A number of us are thinking deeply about the place of monorails in the sustainable transport mix, as you can see in the pages of World Streets and several of our related discussion groups. Here you have in less than two minute a sales pitch that is worth bearing in mind. Reality is not so far behind.

5. "Thirty seconds on sharing" has the advantage of being the shortest clip at 30 seconds, with a few brief worlds the editor of World Streets as he tried to avoid falling off his bike while still telling you a bit about why sharing is a concept that is going to do more for sustainable transport in the years immediately ahead than any other (For more on that check out the new project at www.ShareTransport.org.)

Coming attractions:
Check in to see and hear some of the most effective people and projects that are leading the sustainability movement.

In the meantime you can find more media on the work of the New Mobility Agenda cooperative media program at www.media.newmobility.org as well as a potpourri of related films and clips at http://www.youtube.com/my_playlists?pi=0&ps=20&sf=&sa=0&dm=0&p=97C28087196CD1D0. (This presently ragtag collection to be spruced up and expanded in the month ahead.)

Print this article