Sunday, February 6, 2011

World Streets 2010: Aspirations, accomplishments, building blocks, and work still needed to move ahead

The most significant accomplishment over this last year has been that World Streets has somehow managed to continue publication on a weekly basis, and step by step to improve the journal and steadily build up our international readership and contributions. And all this really quite against the odds and with less than modicum of the necessary financial support. But good cause, high commitment and fair performance carry the day, with the result that each week anywhere from 700 to 2000 readers from more than fifty countries from all corners of the world come in to access the journal.

Here is where our readers came from over the last 24 hours:

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something,
build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

Getting up to date on World Streets (and the New Mobility Agenda)

The move from today's entirely inadequate, costly, unfair and inefficient transportation arrangements in and around our cities to something that is not only better but also sustainable -- a hard word indeed -- is no simple matter. It is not a matter of building more roads and bridges, buying more buses and opting for hugely expensive metros, constructing off-street parking facilities and providing more parking on street, covering the city with cameras and electronics . . . What I am trying to say is that the process is not only many-sided and complex but also one that requires a combination of deep expertise and broad common sense, and a willingness to take the time to dig deep into the issues and the opportunities and in the process to learn from the best. That is what World Streets is all about. The culture of mobility.

The best way to get up to speed fast on W/S and its accomplishments over the last year is to click to:
1. 4-Minute Brief offers a succinct introduction and overview at
2. Best of all World Streets at – really tells the story
3. To get a feel for what happens in a single week, click here for a sample Weekly Digest.
4. During the year more than 100 readers shared their views on the usefulness of World Streets,
5. A recent interview with our editor published by Mobility Magazine on 20 January gives an idea of the character of what World Streets is all about at
6. And just last week the editor testified before the Science and Technology Select Committee of the UK House of Lords, on the subject of “Behaviour Change —To Reduce Car Use in Towns and Cities”, which you can find at

2010 Highlights
It was a busy, often chaotic and hassled but at the end of it all a most creative and satisfying year. Here is a selection of projects and events that I believe did much to advance our shared cause over the year:

1. Continuous publication World Streets, together with maintaining and expanding the support programs of the New Mobility Agenda.

2. Creation of the World Share/Transport Forum -- and first international conference in Kaohsiung

3. Continuous publication of Nuova Mobilità in Italy in cooperation with our Italian partners and with steadily growing readership (including good Facebook Groups linkages to expand outreach).

4. Launching a beta version of India Streets to lay the base for the planned 2012 meeting of the World Share/Transport Forum to take place in India

5. Social Media: II. Stage 1 was just thinking about it in 2009, but in 2010 we started to activate and expand related Facebook groups for all major World Streets, India Streets and Nuova Mobilità projects.

6. W/S carshare country reports - from Sweden, Japan, Croatia, Italy, China, Canada, Iceland, UK, USA, Greece + several strategic sector overviews + a new series on P2P carsharing, a new dark horse running fast.

7. Supporting presentations in conferences, courses, public hearings, workshops, master classes , media appearances, interviews, and other fora and projects for supporting short assignments (3 – 5 days on average) in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan and the UK.

8. Streets of the world photo tour. Here we forget the words and invite you to click to the images

And to be able to dig conveniently into the considerable resource base that underlies the site, we can refer you to the excellent Search engines that you will find on the top right of the site, which are geared to get you to what you are looking for via: Keywords, categories/topics, monthly archives, and finally direct searches by date.

Four building blocks

World Streets did not take its mission or shape on some last minute inspiration or whim, but rather came out of some deep roots which I should like at least to outline for you so that you get a better feel for what this is supposed to be all about. Here are four of the main historic building blocks that essentially define our whole project.

1. The Commons: Starting in the mid-seventies, we started to o our work about the concept of The Commons – that is all that is collectively owned or shared by people, and not there to be bought, sold, or abused or diminished in any way. The image is always that of the town commons as a public space that belongs to all, but the concept also extends into matters of culture. You can see the first (primitive) webpage created to support The Commons back in the middle 90s at The point is this: the idea of all that we need to better understand and support that is in our indivisible common heritage is a driving force behind all our work.

2. The New Mobility Agenda: Unconstrained by bureaucracy, economic interests or schedules, the Agenda was launched in 1988 as a wide open international platform for critical discussion and diverse forms of cross-border collaboration on the challenging, necessarily conflicted topic of "sustainable transportation and social justice". The Agenda is organized into more than one dozen focus programs or invisible colleagues which starting in the mid-nineties led to centers of knowledge and excellence in a variety of new mobility modes and building blocks, including gender and transport, carsharing, city cycling, ridesharing, streetsharing, value capture/taxes, and others. You can see more on this at

3. "Invisible Colleges": The concept of creating a series of continuing, open, independent frameworks for communication, sharing and challenging of ideas around major social, technical and environmental issues and hotspots of our time. For a full listing of the current invisible colleges that provide the foundation for much of the work of World Streets, have a look here –

4. Consistent basic principles on sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives: Here in case you have not yet run across them are the fifteen defining principles that together provide the consistent platform for our work. (Each of these links is clickable and will take you to a short explanatory statement to introduce the strategy.)
1. Environment/Climate emergency leading the way
2. Tighten timetable for action:
3. Reduce traffic radically:
4. Radically increase new mobility services:
5. Design for women:
6. Work with what you have:
7. Frugal economics:
8. Packages of measures:
9. Integrate the car into the new mobility pattern:
10. Full speed ahead with new technology:
11. Technology agnostics:
12. The “infrastructure joker”:
13. Outreach and Partnerships:
14. Lead by Example:
15. But above all . . . pick winners!

2010 Shortcomings:

Looking back over the last year and out to the one just getting underway, World Streets needs . . .

- Software and platform improvements (We already made one major platform improvement in mid-2010 and the rest is only a matter of time and a bit of budget)
- More and better from contributing editors and authors
- More readership and collaboration in the white areas that you can see above in the reader map, namely in Africa, Latin America, China and the countries former Soviet Union. We would also like to see more contributions and work from East Europe.
- More attention to the quality of the language (again, a matter of time and budget)
- Better use of social media that we have started to develop in support of the journal.
- Get the necessary financial support, without compromising our principles concerning free access, no advertizing, nor any financial relationships that could in anyway influence our independent views.

# # #

There you have some of the principle underpinning and sources of raw materials, knowledge, contacts and contributors to World Streets. From the beginning we had a new model of transportation in mind and in the words of Buckminster Fuller w e proceeded from the beginning on that basis of a belief that . . .

"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something,
build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

With this in hand in our next posting we will share with our readers our plans and aspirations for the year ahead. World Streets - The culture of mobility.

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