Mobility matters: community ideals for a feudal society
Aug08

Mobility matters: community ideals for a feudal society

Basic choice is being undermined. Not only is our choice of transport mode being proscribed, but whether we should actually make the journey in the first place is being questioned.

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Roadblock lockdown
Jul07

Roadblock lockdown

At the time of planning LTNs, councils had little or no evidence of the economic impact. How could they? There was no data available to base any decisions on.

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Infrapenny Infrastructure
May31

Infrapenny Infrastructure

The relics of disused Victorian railway lines scattered across the landscape attest to a creative spark that demanded progress and bore no sentimentality, a recognition that reaching the future required risk, demolition, casualties.

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Driving the world to destruction?

‘Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability’ by Daniel Spurling and Deborah Gordon, Oxford University Press, 2010. 322pp Reviewed by Austin Williams | 10 April 2010 Musing about Easter Island, Jared Diamond famously asked “what were they thinking when they chopped down the last tree?” Diamond’s polemical book “Collapse”, written five years ago (but based on a 1995 article), argues against the unthinking exploitation...

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Dan Dare or Dan Daren’t

Austin Williams | 3 October 2008 Whatever happened to the jet-pack; the monorail; the personalised Lear jet; Maglev taxis; automated highways; long-haul flights by space shuttle? All of these strange and wonderful transport ideas were commonplace Utopian ambitions for the future as seen by the Sixties’ generation. Most of them were even technologically possible back then. Today, if there is ever mention of anything so fanciful, it...

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The Pessimists: Putting the brakes on India and China

Austin Williams | 15 May 2008 Notwithstanding the fact that the president of the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington, Clyde Prestowitz, says excitedly that visiting China is ‘always an epiphany’ (1), in general, when considering the Chinese ‘economic miracle’ (2), the West has developed a nagging cynicism about that country’s rapid rate of development.  Undoubtedly there are clearly arguments needed against what political...

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ESSAY: The political engagement’s off

Austin Williams | October 2007 The e:petitions web page was launched on Number 10’s website in November 2006 ‘enabling anyone to address and deliver a petition directly to the Prime Minister.’ Presumably, someone thought that it would be a good wheeze to minimise the photo opportunities for aggreived members of the public to present a paper petition to the Prime Minister in full view of the waiting media. Oh well, back to the drawing...

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Rod Eddington’s unedifying proposals

Austin Williams | 16 December 2006 Rod Eddington’s transport study is the latest in the long line of Treasury-driven policy initiatives designed to counter the lack of political certainty in government circles. While ministers are noticeable by their absence in real transport debates, refusing to discuss any clear initiative for fear that it might turn around and bite them on the bumper, it is much easier to have a third party do it...

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Cities, People, Planet

‘Cities People Planet: Liveable Cities for a Sustainable World’ by Herbert Girardet;  Wiley-Academy, 2004. 304pp Reviewed by Austin Williams | 9 October 2006 This is effectively another reworking of the 10-year-old The Gaia Atlas of Cities: New Directions for Sustainable Urban Living. All the usual suspects are displayed, albeit with significant new additions and examples.  As with Reader and Jacobs, Mesopotamia gets a...

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Commuting: The Life Sentence

Austin Williams| 8 June 2004 The one aspect of the daily grind that is guaranteed to provoke an opinion is the commute to work. Congested roads, overcrowded trains, packed buses and sweaty tubes – it’s been said that if travel broadens the mind, commuting shrinks it back. Few would contest that the transport infrastructure is in a sorry state. But if the commuting experience is really so bad why do so many of us continue to do it? ...

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