Street Screen – the best of the Streetfilms archive

Streetfilms showcase – 7pm, Friday 6th June at Hackney Picture House, Mare Street, E8

Join us and Hackney Council on the evening of 6th June as we delve into the archive of Streetfilms – an inspiring showcase of projects and places from around the world, from the cycle friendly streets of Groningen to San Francisco via Copenhagen, Bogota, New York and more.

New York based Streetfilms have been producing short films showing how smart public realm design produces better places to live, work and play since 2006. They have become the go-to organisation for films on liveable streets, with over 8 million views of the 600 films in their archive

Tickets for the 90 minute screening are just £5 – available here. The entry price includes a post-screening drink courtesy of Steer Davies Gleave.

 

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Register now for Hackney Cycling Conference, 6th June

Hackney Cycling Conference

9am – 4.30pm, Friday 6th June at Hackney Picture House, Mare Street, E8 1HE

We’re delighted to be supporting this year’s Hackney Cycling Conference – organised by Hackney Council in partnership with London Cycling Campaign in Hackney.

Now in its third year the conference is a great opportunity to hear from a wide range of speakers and join transport professionals, politicians, academics and campaigners to discuss the challenges and opportunities to growing cycling in London – all for just £25.

Speakers include:

  • Mary Creagh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
  • Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney
  • Andrew Gilligan, London Cycling Commissioner
  • Klaus Bondham, Director at Danish Cyclists’ Federation
  • Bruce McVean, Movement for Liveable London
  • John Dales, Director of Urban Movement
  • Brian Deegan & Paul Lavelle, Transport for London
  • Peter Piet, Steer Davies Gleave
  • Roy Thompson, Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • Dr Rachel Aldred, Senior Lecturer in Transport, University of Westminster
  • Jeremy Leach, 20’s Plenty For Us
  • David Dansky, Cycle Training UK
  • Lucy Saunders, Public Health Specialist, Greater London Authority/ Transport for London

You can register to attend and find more details here.

Street Talks with Ben Addy – DIY Streets, 2nd July

Street Talks with Ben Addy, London Communities Manager, Sustrans DIY Streets

In an age of austerity and localism Sustrans DIY Streets projects allow communities to develop affordable solutions to make their streets safer and more attractive places to live. The DIY Streets project in Haringey, which ran from 2010 – 2012, led to a 10% average reduction in traffic volume at monitoring sites; a 23% increase in traffic travelling 20mph or less; a 61% increase in residents who felt the street was attractive and a 34% increase in residents who felt the street is place to socialise.

We hope you can join us for July’s Street Talks when Ben Addy, who leads Sustrans DIY Streets work in London, will explore how local residents and other partners can work together to create high quality urban environments that promote sustainable travel and are safe and pleasant to live in and visit.

Upstairs at The Yorkshire Grey, 2 Theobalds Road, WC1X 8PN at 7pm on Tuesday 2nd July 2013 (bar open from 6pm).

Ben Addy is the London Communities Manager with Sustrans.  He is responsible for managing the Communities projects in London – including DIY Streets and Pocket Places. Prior to his current role, Ben delivered a two-year DIY Streets project in Turnpike Lane, London Borough of Haringey. Ben has an MA International Studies from the University of Denver and has extensive experience working on social justice projects and campaigns in both Europe and North America.

Second annual Hackney Cycling conference, 6th June

We’re delighted to be supporting the second annual Hackney Cycling Conference which is being held on Thursday 6th June at Hackney Town Hall.

The conference will explore the potential to turn recent high level political support for cycling, ambitious policy statements and successful campaigns into real change on the ground and create conditions that encourage a significant increase in the number of people riding bikes.

Speakers include:

  • Jules Pipe, Mayor of Hackney
  • Andrew Gilligan, London Cycling Commissioner
  • Prof. Phil Goodwin, University of the West of England and author of the APPCG report ‘Get Britain Cycling’
  • Dr Adrian Davis, Bristol City Council on the Bristol model for collaboration on public health and transport
  • Prof. Harry Rutter, Public Health England and Halsa Consulting on cycling risks and benefits
  • Chris Procter, Design and Engineering Manager at Hackney Council on the principles of permeability
  • Sophie Tyler, The Means on cycling and retail
  • Oliver Schick, London Cycling Campaign in Hackney on building local support for road space reallocation
  • The Canal and River Trust on managing shared space on Greenways
  • Mark Strong, Transport Initiatives on designing for different kerb-side needs

Hackney Town Hall, Assembly Halls, Mare St (entrance from Reading Lane), E8 1EA, Thursday 6th June, 9am-4pm.

You can register to attend and find more information here (registration fee £25).

The Hackney Cycling Conference is organised by Hackney Council and supported by London Cycling Campaign in Hackney, Movement for Liveable London, Transport Initiatives, SKM Colin Buchanan.

A new movement for The New City – Bruce McVean’s The New City lecture

This is a write up of Bruce McVean’s The New City lecture given on Monday 11th February 2013 at Cambridge University’s Department of Architecture.

A brief (and over simplified) history of transport and the city

Cities have always been shaped by transport, while the planning and design of cities impacts on transport choices. The first cities were inherently walkable – the primary mode of transport was people’s feet and cities were necessarily compact in size and form as a result.

Public transport allowed cities to grow well beyond a size that would allow a person to comfortably walk from one side to the other. The expansion of train, tram, bus and tube lines helped suburbia spread, but the component parts of suburban growth remained walkable – homes needed to be within walking distance of train stations, tram stops, bus routes, shops and services. Today we’d say that cities were expanding through ‘transit orientated development’.

Mass private transport came in the form of the bicycle, which enabled people to travel further for journeys not served by public transport, bringing new personal freedom of movement that helped whet the appetite for the even greater freedoms promised by the car.

Aspirations towards car ownership were matched with aspirations towards home (and garden) ownership. After the Second World War rising car ownership freed developers from the need to provide easy access to public transport. Shops and services no longer needed to be within walking distance. Aggressive lobbying by car manufacturers, government investment in road building, and changes in planning policy and development economics all helped fuel the rise of the car as the transport mode of choice.

Now those who live in suburbia have little choice but to drive – trapped in a vicious cycle of car dependency as the separation of land uses continues to place jobs and services beyond the reach of those on foot, while low densities make the running of decent public transport nigh on impossible – and most people looking for a new home have little choice but to buy in suburbia.

Of course, it wasn’t just suburbia that was being shaped by the car. In existing urban areas perfectly functional buildings and even neighbourhoods disappeared under the wrecking ball to provide the road and parking space necessary to bring the car into the heart of the city.

The problem with cars

The negative impacts of our love affair with the car have long been acknowledged. As have the difficulties of trying to do anything meaningful to address them. In 1960 the Ministry of Transport commissioned a team led by Colin Buchanan to look at the problem, resulting in the publication of Traffic in Towns in 1963. 50 years on the project steering group’s famous acknowledgement that, “We are nourishing at immense cost a monster of great destructiveness. And yet we love him dearly…” still rings true.

Undoubtedly many people still aspire to car ownership, or view owning a car as essential to maintaining a high quality of life. And who are we to deny them? Engines keep getting more efficient and electric cars will help wean us off carbon dioxide emitting toxic fossil fuels. What about those self-driving cars we keep hearing so much about? Aren’t they going to use road space so efficiently that congestion will be a thing of the past, along with crashes? Perhaps, but what kind of city do we want to live in? One where everyone zooms about in their own metal box, completely removed from their fellow citizens? Ask anyone how they think their city can be improved and the answer is unlikely to be more cars – self-driving or otherwise.

Technology may soon address the problems of the internal combustion engine and the contribution that car travel makes to carbon emissions and air pollution; but technology alone can’t solve the myriad of other negative impacts of car dependency that are neatly summarised in the diagram below from the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s report The Urban Environment. Tackling carbon emissions and air pollution is an essential task, but it’s not the only task – the big villain isn’t the internal combustion engine, it’s the car. As Taras Grescoe argues in Straphanger, “The automobile was never an appropriate technology for [cities]. As a form of mass transit for the world, it is a disaster.”

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