Towards Car-Free Cities III - Programme Details

Prague 2003 - Programme - Programme Details - Proceedings - Transcripts 

The following page contains details on the Towards Car-Free Cities programme, including biographies of key speakers and abstracts of their presentations.

J.H. Crawford was trained as a sociologist and social worker. He has held a wide variety of positions in the public and private sectors, including: public transport ombudsman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, real estate consultant, project manager for container terminal automation, and software designer. He is the author of "Carfree Cities" and editor of Carfree.com.
More detailed bio: http://www.carfree.com/book/bio.html.

"Carfree Cities: Do We Need Them and Can They Work?"
>> [full transcript here]
Why might we want carfree cities? What is wrong with continuing to expand automobile use in our cities? What benefit is there to maintaining and improving public transport service? What would we have to give up? The answers to these questions will suggest that we badly need to reduce, and preferably eliminate, the automobile within cities. The means to achieve this goal will be discussed, and the design of an idealised, hypothetical carfree city will be presented.

"Car-Free Cities: From Vision to Reality" (Three-part strategy session: Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 3:15 pm)
We've made some progress in the past five years. We have carfree days, we have books, we have magazines, we have web sites, we have confer-ences. Nothing has changed. More people are dying on the roads than ever before. More oil is being burned in cars and trucks. Fewer kids are walking to school. We've made "progress" but we haven't gotten results.
In the next five years, we need to see fewer people dying on the roads, less oil consumption, more kids walking to school. Tens of thousands have gone to Rio and to Johannesburg. Nothing has changed. Since Towards Car-Free Cities I, more than five million people have died on the roads, fifteen million from air pollution.
In this session, we won't be trying to build a carfree city; we will be trying to change the status quo in such a way that carfree cities become inevitable. We want voters to demand that their politicians make it happen.
Questions for the thread: How we can become far more effective than we have been? How we can reach millions instead of thousands? How we can reach them with messages that will move them to action, not just nodding their heads? How are we going to achieve real change in the next five years? Finally, how can we focus on the new EU member states and developing nations?
Outline of the Three Sessions:
I. Identify and briefly discuss each of the tactics identified before or during the session. (brainstorm). Think about the message we want to spread and the need to achieve a change in values.
II. Discuss the effectiveness and achievability of the identified techniques.
III. Formulate an action plan to implement the most feasible and effective techniques. Who will do the work, where, how, and funded by whom?

Oscar Edmundo Diaz holds a degree in Finance and International Relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia, and has completed further studies in Policy and International Affairs. He served as advisor on foreign affairs to the former Mayor of Bogota, Enrique Penalosa, primarily responsible for the city's marketing strategy and international cooperation, and was also the international coordinator for the Bogota Transportation Project from 1998 to 2001.
Diaz was responsible for the first car-free days in Bogota, which laid the base for what is probably the world's most important city transport project and approach of the last half century. In just a few years, innovative planning transformed Bogota - a city of seven million people - into the world's leading model for sustainable urban design.
Prior to working at the Office of the Mayor of Bogota, Diaz was Assistant Vice President of an investment banking project at Finempresa S.A., and held a faculty position at Universidad Externado de Colombia lecturing on North American Studies, specifically domestic and foreign policy.
Diaz is currently based in New York City assisting former Mayor Penalosa. His work there includes writing a book and several articles on the subject, giving lectures at international forums and at universities. Diaz has also been working as the Administrative Director and Auto Free Cities Coordinator of the Institute for Transportation and Developing Policy (ITDP) since July 2001. Diaz remains a key player in The Bogota Programme, and in 2003 has been travelling the world to encourage other cities to follow Bogota's lead.

"Bogota, Colombia: From Congested Chaos to World Model for Livable, Egalitarian Cities"
The once polluted and congested city of Bogota, where many people were unable to reach vital destinations, now has one of the world's most efficient and accessible transportation networks, featuring: Latin America's largest network of bicycle routes (250 km); a world-class Bus Rapid Transit system with dedicated bus lanes; the world's longest pedestrian-only street (spanning 17 km); hundreds of kilometres of new pavements (sidewalks); and weekly Car-Free Sundays, when many streets are closed to motorised traffic to make space for thousands of cyclists and pedestrians.
This all began with a car-free day in February 2000 that made the entire city of 35,000 hectares (135 square miles) free of private motorised vehicles. "We moved 7 million people by public transit and bicycle," recalls Diaz. "Over 800,000 cars were left at home, and 1.5 million people moved by bicycle."

Lars Gemzoe: Born 1945. Architect, Senior Lecturer in Urban Design at The School of Architecture, The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and at DIS, Denmark´s International Study Program in Copenhagen. International teaching includes universities in New York, Montréal, Rouen, Hannover, Bogota and Montevideo and he has lectured at conferences and schools of architecture in the USA, Canada, Japan, Colombia, Uruguay, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Spain, Jugoslavia, Lithuania and Scandinavia. Publications include "Public Spaces - Public Life: Copenhagen 1996" awarded the Edra/PLACES Research Award in 1998 and "New City Spaces," 2001 published in Danish, English, Czech, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese editions.

"Public Spaces - Public Life: Urban Design with the Pedestrian in Mind"
Today one can see four types of urban situations that are present at the same time around the world: 1. "The traditional city" where the old city structure and urban culture has more or less resisted the invasion of cars and where the old centres still function with a balance between traffic, market and meeting activities.
2. "The invaded cities" are cities where cars are dominating the public spaces and public life has been reduced.
3. "The abandoned cites" are places where public life has almost died out. Finally there is an other possibility:
4. "The reconquered cities," which are cities where visionary urban policies have been applied that focus on reshaping and creating public spaces of high quality. Urban recreation - as a growing form of public life - has been increasing in cities where well connected, fine public spaces have been supplied to the citizens.
This presentation will show some examples from around the world with special emphasis on Copenhagen as a case study.

Randy Ghent co-founded Car Busters in 1997 in Lyon, France, while working as a coordinator of the Towards Car-Free Cities I conference. Since 1997, he has been based in Lyon, Melbourne and Prague as a full-time staff member of the Car Busters collective, with a diverse range of roles and projects. From 1998-2000, he was European Correspondent for Adbusters magazine. From 1992-1997 he was office manager of the Alliance for a Paving Moratorium/Fossil Fuels Policy Action Institute in California, where he served as editor of the Auto-Free Times.

"Medieval Urbanism in Morocco: Lessons for the Modern World"
>> [full transcript here]
Getting lost in the maze of Morocco's medinas (medieval pedestrian cities) offers us a rare opportunity to immerse ourselves in the history of urban form, experiencing the past first-hand in the present. Through this visual exercise, we temporarily distance ourselves from contemporary urban design, giving us the perspective to recognise its many failings. In the process, we learn how a dense, compact urban habitat can be built without dependence on motorised or mechanised transport, while providing the necessary preconditions for a rich and vibrant public life.

Jason Kirkpatrick is a former Vice Mayor of Arcata, California, which the international media has called "The Greenest Town in America." Since 1998 he has been working on sustainable development issues in Europe, studying model solutions of ecological sustainability and lecturing in 17 countries. He has presented at various conferences and lectured in city halls from Belfast to Berlin, and from Singapore to Spain. In the last two months he has given slide shows on cycling in Los Angeles and on model urban sustainability projects in Manchester City Hall in the UK. He has recently organised study tours of Freiburg, Germany, and Arcata, California for city planners, councillors, and others interested in studying the best existing models of sustainable city planning.

"Models of European Cycle Planning: Good Practice from The Netherlands and Further Abroad"
Jason Kirkpatrick's lecture on cycling captures the essentials of cycle planning. Good and bad examples of cycle planning are compared in his international slide show, and Kirkpatrick gives concrete examples of why cycling is better for not only health and the environment, but for the economy of a City as well. Photos range from slides of cycle lanes in the Netherlands, to cycle facilities in Germany, to bikes on buses and trains in California and more.

Kirstin Miller is the Program Director for Ecocity Builders. Working with Ecocity Builders' President Richard Register, she helps direct and shape the organization's local programs, projects, and policies. She has been a speaker on ecological city design and planning in China and South Africa, as well as in the United States. Kirstin is also journalist and free lance writer. Her past professional experience includes being a cellist, public school teacher, manager of a non-profit publishing company, and a hard news reporter. She has a nine-year-old daughter who loves creeks.

"Roll Back Sprawl, Rebuild Civilisation!"
>> [full transcript here]
Bits and pieces of a healthy future are coming into focus around the world as city designers, leaders and citizens create policies and projects that are changing the form and function of cities, towns and villages. Yet we need much more ­ we need to understand the enormous destructive force of the rapidly growing sprawl/automobile/freeway/oil infrastructure and that we can think through and create something radically happier and much healthier: the ecological city built for people, not cars.
In our presentation, through photos, drawings and maps from around the world, using ideas and imagery of dozens of advanced thinkers in the field, and showing our own visions of the future, we look at the basic principles of ecological design of cities and project deep into the future. Here we get to the basic land uses and the architecture, technologies and life styles built upon them. We feature in some detail the projects of Ecocity Builders in Berkeley, California. There, and everywhere, transportation systems, energy systems, restoration and preservation of nature are all crucial components, almost organs, of this built living system called home. Cities, towns and villages can and must be transformed for the long-term health of our local communities and the whole Earth ­ this presentation provides the tools and shows how.

John Whitelegg is an international expert in transport and the environment and has conducted research in the UK and abroad for academic, statutory and governmental organisations. He regularly speaks about his findings in Britain and overseas and his business, Ecologica Ltd., is an environmental and transport consultancy. John is Professor of Environment in the School of the Built Environment at Liverpool John Moore's University. He has written six books and over 50 papers, including "Transport for a Sustainable Society: the Case for Europe" (John Wiley, 1993) and "Critical Mass: Transport, Environment and Society in the 21st Century" (Pluto Press, 1996), and is founder and editor of The Journal of World Transport Policy & Practice.
More detailed bio: http://www.ecoplan.org/ecoplan/vitae/whitelegg.htm.

"Wrong Way, Go Back: A Guide to Intelligent Transport Planning"
The Western model of transport and land use planning is a failed model. It is very expensive, it can never satisfy the demand for mobility that it encourages, it destroys lives and communities, it makes poor people poorer, it makes people ill and it is well on the way to destroy the planet.
One of the interesting things about transport is that we are drowning in the evidence that supports the case against the Western model at the same time as politicians around the world embrace huge budgets and pursue the imaginary goals of successful economic development on the back of covering the landscape with tarmac and concrete and destroying some of the finest and most civilised urban areas in Europe.
This presentation will very quickly review the evidence that shows:

  • The high cost of creating motorised mobility

  • The strong negative impacts of traffic on health

  • The ways that new roads do not help the economy

  • The ways that transport expenditure subsidises rich people and ignore basic community and accessibility needs

  • The ways that transport damages biodiversity, landscape and the planet through greenhouse gases

More importantly this presentation will show that none of this is inevitable or unavoidable. We can have a sustainable, socially just, nurturing, healthy and community enriching transport policy. Its main elements are:
  • Internalising external costs

  • A lorry tax like the German "LKW-Maut"

  • Congestion charges like the London scheme introduced on 17th February (8 Euros for cars to get in to central London)

  • World class walking and cycling facilities

  • Clear priority for pedestrians at intersections (cars wait and not pedestrians)

  • Highly integrated, efficient and low cost public transport

  • Strong land use policies to stop sprawl and American Mall style developments

  • Strong community participation with local citizens deciding what kind of things should be done to roads and streets in their area

  • Strong speed controls and safety/policing measure

  • Strict budgetary controls on central government so that short distance trips and trips made by women, children, disabled groups and the elderly get priority and not long distance trips by fast modes

  • Fundamental reform of European Union funding and investment policies to end the distortion in favour of motorways, high speed trains and air travel

  • An end to stupid privatisation deals like the UK rail and bus privatisation experience

There is lots of good news around the world, so the presentation will finish with really good things that can happen and should happen in all countries wanting to avoid the mistakes of the Western Model:
  • The Perth (Western Australia) individualised marketing scheme

  • The Bremen car share scheme

  • The Copenhagen bike system

  • The HUR system (Copenhagen) of integrated public transport

  • The Delft (Netherlands) bike system

  • The London congestion charge

Why should the Czech Republic follow a failed model when much better models are available?

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 This page was last updated 8 October 2006