- a collection of notes and reflections on urban living from the perspective of a family of five in Tokyo. My epiphany was many years ago, but being hit by a motorbike and seeing my life flash before my eyes caused a sudden change that slowly made me reflect on whether American style auto-centric urban transportation of the Roosevelt era really is a capital G "Good Idea" for civilized modern cities in the 21st Century. This blog explores the good and the bad in urban planning and design, here and elsewhere. The goal is simple - not "death to all cars," just more walkable communities, quiet tree-lined streets, good public transport, traffic calming, Velib style bicycle sharing and a bit of common sense. The bolg is mostly theraputic, so I don't go wanting to throttle every dangerous driver I come across, but partly also out of a real desire to see positive change. This blog explores how it can be done, the people who do it, and how, in many small ways, this very old idea may at last have found its zeitgeist. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

ROADBLOCK! - we are having fun here

One of the (many) great things about Japan is the festival experience. The festival season generally runs from Spring through Autumn, with each local event running to its own traditional schedule. Some, like the Nebuta Matsuri in Aomori, draw crowds in the hundreds of thousands, while others are extremely local. However they all have one thing in common - for the duration of the festival the streets are cleared of cars and once again returned to the people. That in itself seems to bring people out in their thousands just to enjoy the atmosphere of walking down a street free of cars. Perhaps this is why the Japanese tend to naturally understand that automobile traffic should not be no#1 priority.

Green Weddings in China

It is good to see that some in China are not buying into "autopia". Xinhua follows this bicycle wedding entourage in China on worldwide "Carfree Day":

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Activating Armchair Activism

Show you care:

Amazing example of how concerned individuals (even the armchair variety) can really make a difference in the right situations!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Car-Free USA

If you like my blog, you will probably like this one even more. All about car-free events in the USA.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Put up a PARK(ing) lot

CNet had a top page news article about the PARK(ing) Day movement that has inspired people around the world.

A beautiful, gentle, effective way of showing people just how much better our towns and cities will be when we have a little LESS parking space, and a bit more PARK space. San Francisco is really one city in the USA that has been taking a lead on these kinds of initiatives for quite a few years now. Still nowhere near the scale of initiatives in cities and towns of Japan and much of Europe, but they are moving in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More on Velib

Yet another article about the amazing Velib programme in Paris:

I am beginning to feel that this particular project will be seen as a turning point in our attitudes to urban lifestyle in the West. The implications of this will be big - very, very big.

More pictures: HERE

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Crude: The Incredible Journey of Oil

The ABC deserves to be commended for releasing this television documentary for free internet viewing. It is an entertaining look at the global lifecycle of oil as geologists now understand it - and the picture that it paints is not pretty. My four year old son enjoyed the CG dinosaurs but said that the documentary "made him sad". Well folks, that may be excuse enough for a four year old to stop watching, but it won't cut it for adults like you and I. We need to face this issue, individually and collectively.