Towards Carfree Cities IX - Press Releases

TCC IX Press Releases

Carfree UK

Global Car-free Cities Conference arrives in UK

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The global car-free movement brings its annual conference to the UK for the first time next year. In June, academics, city planners and campaigners from all over the world will take part in the week-long Towards Carfree Cities IX conference in York, which proposes a radical rethink of cities.

The Towards Carfree Cities conference is a global gathering which aims to develop practical alternatives to car-dependent lifestyles and car-dominated cities. It is an annual forum for cutting-edge, radical thinking in transport policy and car-free development.

The conference series is run by the World Carfree Network, based in the Czech capital, Prague. This will be the first time that the conference has come to the UK in its 13-year history. Past conferences have take place in Lyon, Berlin, Istanbul, the Colombian capital Bogotá, and Portland, USA. The conference is being hosted by Carfree UK from 28 June to 1 July 2010. Up to 200 participants from around the world are expected, primarily from the UK and Europe.

Steve Melia, Coordinator of Carfree UK said: "We're delighted that the conference is coming to Britain for the first time. Carfree neighbourhoods are moving up the agenda in the UK, with the launch of the new carfree association for London, and increasing interest from local and national Government. This will be a great opportunity to learn from places all over the world, where neighbourhoods free from the curse of traffic pollution, danger, noise and congestion are planned or already in existence."

The 2010 conference will be looking at the carfree vision of cities – where amenities are within walking distances, and space is reallocated from transport back to shared community use. The question being posed is: how can we get there from here? One of the York organisers behind the bid, Randall Ghent, said "The plan to build new eco-towns is almost a distraction. Most people in the UK live in cities built long before the car became supreme. We need a plan to fix our cities, and put them back on the human scale."

Steve Melia said: "We hope the Conference will attract planners, developers, academics, local activists and ordinary people from all over the country who want a better quality of life for their communities."


Notes to editors:

  • The goal of the Towards Carfree Cities conference series is to bring together people from around the world who are promoting practical alternatives to car dependence - walking, cycling and public transport, and ultimately the transformation of cities, towns and villages into human-scaled environments rich in public space and community life. The focus is on strategy, collaboration and exchange, assisting the practical work of conference participants - whether it be organising carfree days, promoting urban cycling, or building the carfree cities of the future.
  • For further information, comment or interview contact Richard Lane on 07923 915724.

Carfree UK

Support Boost for Carfree Cities Conference

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Campaigners, academics and architects from four continents will gather in York next month for the UK's first "Towards Carfree Cities" conference. Local businesses, campaigners, the Council and the Co-operative have all announced their support.

The conference organisers are proud to announce that The Co-operative Membership will be the main sponsor of the conference, taking place from June 28th to July 1st this year. Other sponsors and supporters of the conference include the bike shop Cycle Heaven, York-based Get Cycling – one of the country's leading cycling promoters, and York's City Screen cinema. The conference has also been welcomed by Council leader Andrew Waller.

The conference is an annual forum for cutting-edge, radical thinking in transport policy and car-free development. Local campaign groups including York and Ryedale Friends of the Earth, and the internationally renowned Stockholm Environment Institute are also involved with the conference.

"The Towards Carfree Cities conference series is a vital opportunity for forward-thinking and collaboration, working towards new carfree developments and the transformation of transport in our cities – one of the most prominent issues in our efforts to become more sustainable," said Ed Powell of The Co-operative Membership.

The conference programme will cover topics such as freight in carfree areas, DIY street makeovers, social marketing, the psychology of car dependence. One keynote speaker, Dr Barbara Schmucki of the York-based Institute for Railway Studies and Transport History, will be examining how the pedestrian became the underdog in a talk entitled 'The Quick and the Dead'.

Tuesday 29th June will be an open day at the conference, to which all York residents are invited. Entry is by voluntary donation. The day will end with a film night and panel discussion with conference delegates at York's City Screen cinema.

The national research and campaigning group Carfree UK is hosting the conference, which will take place in York's Priory Centre between June 28th and July 1st 2010. Past conferences have take place in Lyon, Berlin, Istanbul, the Colombian capital Bogotá, and Portland, USA.

Richard Lane, one of the conference organisers, said: "We heard recently how the UK faces up to £300 million in fines from the EU for poor air quality, mainly due to car-choked cities, and that up to 50,000 people are dying each year as a result. This underlines the urgency of making our cities work without cars. It is a long term project, but one that we need to start on right away."

Carfree UK

An invitation to the first Bishy Road street party

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Bishopthorpe Road will be open for business late into the evening on Thursday July 1st for the first ever Bishyroad Street Party - and all are invited!

The event will see the street opened to pedestrians for the evening from 6:30pm until 9:30pm, with stalls, special offers, al fresco eating and drinking, and entertainments laid on. The event is being organised in conjunction with the Towards Carfree Cities Conference taking place in York the same week.

Andy Shrimpton, manager of the Cycle Heaven bike shop and founder of the website bishyroad.net, is one of the traders behind the plan. He says, "Bishopthorpe Road is a great example of neighbourhood shopping street, which is fast becoming a rare thing. There is a great sense of community in the area, and the local traders are at the heart of that. This event is about giving that community a space, free of traffic for one evening. But we hope this street party will be the first of many!"

Most of the shops will be open late, and many will have special offers on. As well as stalls from community groups, there will be a barbeque from M & K Butchers, hand made ice cream from The Good Food Shop, a troupe of circle dancers and music from groups including Saxofun, the Golden Rail Brass Band and Blackbeard's Tea Party.

Richard Lane, one of the organisers of the Towards Carfree Cities gathering said, "We're really glad to have been involved with this event. Many neighbourhood and village centres have been killed off by traffic, which makes a street unpleasant, noisy and dangerous. By removing the cars we can reclaim space for the community, if only for a short while."

International delegates from the Conference will be attending the street party, which also has the support of the Council Leader and all local Councillors. Attendance is free and everyone is invited.


Notes to editors:

  • Traffic during the event will be diverted via Nunnery Lane, Blossom Street and Scarcroft Road. Access to Vine St and Darnborough Street for residents will be unaffected.

Carfree UK

Carfree City Visions at Conference Open Day

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Everyone is invited to an open day and film night on Tuesday June 29th as part of the international 'Towards Carfree Cities' conference, taking place at York's Priory Street Centre. All sessions at the conference during the day will be open to the public, as will an evening of films and a panel debate at City Screen.

The open day kicks off at 9am with keynote presentations including "The Quick and The Dead: a History of the Pedestrian" by the University of York's own Dr Barbara Schmucki. There will be a planning session starting at 10:45 for York Carfree Day, which will again take place this year on September 22nd. The afternoon includes sessions on 'The Psychology of Car Dependence', and games about the use of public space with Leeds-based public space group "Make-pla(y)ce".

At 8pm, York's City Screen cinema will host the Carfree Film Night, an evening of short films to impress and inspire change. The films are a mix of short documentaries, animations and music. They look at how public space has been reclaimed in other cities, why young people are calling for change, how activists, environmentalists and a new generation of urban planners are bringing that change about, and what the future could look like if we are successful.

"Beauty and the Bike" tells the story of a pioneering project that got girls from Darlington kitted up and determined to cycle after a visit to Bremen in Germany. Other films show how Paris have been taken over by the inline skating phenomenon, and how James Bond takes the tram to outwit his enemies.

Delegates will be attending the conference from as far afield as Australia, Russia, Brazil and South Africa. The York conference is the ninth in the series, which gathers professionals, academics politicians and campaigners all working towards a future where cities function for people, not cars. Entrance to all open day events and sessions is by voluntary donation.

The public events continue with the first Bishopthorpe Road Street Party on Thursday July 1st from 6:30 to 9:30pm. The conference concludes with a party on Friday July 2nd, from 8pm at the Crescent Working Men's Club. The gig features funk band Hot Fudge, comedy from Rory Motion and DJ Lady Greygold. Entrance is £5 / £3 concessions.


Notes to editors:

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