I’m a patron of Sustrans (the UK’s leading sustainable transport charity), and recently chaired a conference organised by them and Play England which looked at some of the serious issues around Britain’s decline in places for children to enjoy safe outside play, to cycle safely and the resultant health issues.
Here are some things I took from the conference and some of the issues raised and some things that got me cogitating.
Should we be stopping road building totally? Or at least until there are cars that don’t need any fossil fuels… is this what’s needed to trigger the modal switch and investment in public transport and cycling?
Should any new developments have to prove a reduction in personal carbon footprint (from a current UK average of around 10 tons pa to 2 tons pa)? Energy efficient homes can only scratch at this, transport and creating places where people don’t need to move about as much would have a significant impact on personal carbon footprints.
Has the government got it the wrong way round in spending significant sums on cycle training for young people? Shouldn’t the investment be in teaching car drivers to deal safely with cyclists?
Should there be a “charter of rights” for residents to ensure that developers don’t renege on their promises and good design and placemaking principles don’t get lost in translation? Should this be going further and do we need a system of Community Developments Trusts whereby residents get some form of ownership over developments and can have a real say over developer and planning proposals?
Is the current housing downturn a real opportunity to engender a paradigm shift in Britain’s housing delivery? Is this a time for a new developer to come forward where return on shareholder value is not as paramount, developers that are not based on borrowings and credit. Developers who retain an interest in the land value long after the building is completed?
Can RSL’s step up and deliver some of the liveability that PLC Developers can’t deliver because of borrowing and city pressures?
How can we encourage the RSL community to be aspirational and do more than just address the downtrodden, we need an injection of aspirational folk to lift some communities.
Localism is good. The Totnes pound model seems to be successful. Why isn’t it being replicated?
We need political communities to be at the heart of new developments, its people that make places. Vauban in Freiberg, Germany owes much of its success and positive notoriety to its pioneering, almost missionary,”deep green”, political community who moved in first.
Why aren’t we sharing more? Shouldn’t management companies and community groups be encouraging us to share a lawn mower, a hedge cutter, power tools, be facilitating this?
We have known that streets with less traffic lead to more opportunities for community, this Appleyard research in San Francisco was done over 25 years ago.
How come in most councils if you cycle to work you can only claim less than half in travel expenses than when you drive… shouldn’t we be setting an example and rewarding people for being sustainable?
Shouldn’t good play for young people be embedded in all local authorities planning considerations as per this great legacy that Ken Livingstone has left London?