Tower Hamlets Council is seeking to scrap road closures introduced as part of the borough’s Liveable Streets programme.
This was one of the pledges of Lutfur Rahman, who was elected new mayor in May. His Aspire party won a majority, replacing the Labour administration, which had introduced the “liveable streets” to tackle congestion and air pollution and to encourage more residents to cycle, walk and use public transport.
The new administration said it will review the restrictions where they have added to congestion on main roads, obstructed emergency vehicles and made it hard for vulnerable residents to access their streets.
Streets have been optimised for one thing: traffic. A kind of ‘urban rewilding’ could return them to the complex social ecosystems they once were
Like natural ecosystems, cities also used to be complex and diverse places that hosted a whole range of different activities. Our streets were public spaces, used for many purposes: work, trade, play, socialising and transportation.
Rebecca Solnit describes our relationship to our city streets perfectly in her book Wanderlust:
“The word citizen has to do with cities, and the ideal city is organised around citizenship – around participation in public life.” And that is how it once was.
Thalia Verkade and Marco te Brömmelstroet are the authors of Movement:
How to Take Back Our Streets and Transform Our Lives (Scribe), translated by Fiona Graham.
Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit (Granta, £9.99)
Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City by Peter D. Norton (MIT, £25)
Earthopolis: A Biography of Our Urban Planet by Carl H. Nightingale (CUP, £25)
A reminder that owning and driving a car is the equivalent carbon to 20 flights to Rome per year.
Jo Balham Retweeted
A reminder that owning and driving a car is the equivalent carbon to 20 flights to Rome per year. If you’re worried about climate change, consider sharing a car instead. #ClimateCrisis
Joe Lo 31/05/2022
Finland has passed arguably the world’s most ambitious climate target into law. It aims to be the first developed country to reach net zero, in 2035, and net negative – absorbing more CO2 than it emits – by 2040.
According to Net Zero Tracker, only South Sudan has a more ambitious net zero date than 2035 and, as a developing country, its 2030 target is highly dependent on international finance.
The target was set based on analysis by a group of independent economists from the Finnish climate change panel. They worked out what Finland’s fair share was of the 420 GT of carbon dioxide that the world can emit and still have a two-thirds chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C.
We take it for granted that the streets outside out homes are designed for movement from A to B, nothing more. But what happens if we radically rethink how we use these public spaces? Could we change our lives for the better?
Our dependence on cars is damaging our health – and the planet’s. The Dutch seem to have the right idea, with thousands of bike highways, but even then, what happens to pedestrians or people who want to cycle at a more leisurely pace? What about children playing outside their homes? Or wildlife, which enriches our local areas? Why do we prioritise traffic above all else?
Google Maps is a common tool for finding the best route, but the platform’s recommendations have caused small-road traffic to worsen.
In 2005, Rebecca was looking for a place to live. She chose a nice street in Bromley, London, just next to the quiet Crystal Palace Park and relatively low on traffic.
“It was the wide, avenue-like appearance of the road, with its villas and Victorian houses, that I loved about the road,” she tells City Monitor.
The UK government’s recent transport decarbonisation plan (TDP) has had a mixed reception. The consensus seems to be that it contains plenty of positive ideas but that it is very weak on a clear overall direction for the transport sector. Commentators have voiced frustration at its lack of a plan to reduce the demand for travel, so that the UK transport sector can play its part in averting the unfolding climate crisis.
The traffic that was once flowing through motorways and other major rows is now spilling into your backstreet.
In London, this shift is clear from data published by @DfTstats.
@googlemaps and @waze
London had a problem. In 2016, more than 2 million of the city’s residents—roughly a quarter of its population—lived in areas with illegal levels of air pollution; areas that also contained nearly 500 of the city’s schools. That same air pollution was prematurely killing as many as 36,000 people a year. Much of it was coming from transport: a quarter of the city’s carbon emissions were from moving people and goods, with three-quarters of that emitted by road traffic.
But in the years since, carbon emissions have fallen. There’s also been a 94 percent reduction in the number of people living in areas with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant that causes lung damage. The reason? London has spent years and millions of pounds reducing the number of motorists in the city.
How much is a trillion dollars? Exactly. Who knows? Nobody.
But here are a load of trillion dollar values visualized so you can at least *see* what $trillion looks like.
The New York Times did a nice interactive on this theme
UPDATED: » 7th Jul 2022 » 4th Sep 2020 (view) ORIGINAL: 16th Aug 2018