Examining the Prospects for Equity-Based Transport in Helsinki
Phase I. Outreach, first findings & draft recommendations for review Page 2
A word of introduction
Nothing is more attractive to me than a muddled discussion awaiting its first theory.
- E. O. Wilson, Biophilia, Harvard University Press, 1984And if ever there were a "muddled discussion" in the domain of public policy, just about everythingwe have heard and seen over the last decades under the heading of "sustainable development" and"sustainable transportation" has to be placed firmly in this category. Hopes, rhetoric and promiseshave run higher than high, while concrete achievements and realities have been tragically few andfar between. We are grievously losing the war of sustainability on just about every front you canimagine. Something has to be very wrong, something fundamental, something structural andsomething which apparently is not getting the attention it requires.Against this background the goal of this project is to see if we can make progress toward some kindof unified approach or theory of sustainability on the basis of one concept which has not gottenmuch play in the past and which just might help us to cut through all of the confusion, all the muddle,and give us something firmer to build on. To this end we set out on a wide-open brainstormingexpedition of the challenges of creating a better and more sustainable transport system in the city of Helsinki , working specifically through the lens of
. (Note: The idea of equity stresses fairnessand equal opportunities, not be confused with the concept of equality. But more on all that shortly.)The draft that follows and the open collaborative process behind it were commissioned by theDepartment of City Planning/Transportation of the City of Helsinki. However the information, viewsand recommendations you will find here are the responsibility of the author alone. That is not to saythat these are my original ideas: to the contrary my role in this project is more that of co-organizerand keen listener than author and certainly not authority. That said, I have to say here up front thatanything you find that is foolish or wrong, almost certainly comes from your author. And anythingthat you find engaging and worth more thought, almost surely comes from someone else.Here and there you may get the impression that I am not sufficiently aware of all the good ideas,projects and progress advanced in your beautiful city up to now. I am afraid that is inevitable for anon-Finnish speaking visitor on his third trip here. But what I can say in my behalf is that I havecome here not to be right and certainly not wise, but to see if I can do my bit to get a discussiongoing on a new approach that I truly believe can serve Helsinki and other cities very well indeed.And yes, the accomplishments of Helsinki in the mobility sector until now have been at a high level.With the goal being to do better yet. Which is where this report and process may come in handy.
To comment on report:
This is work in progress and more specifically what we call a "thinking exercise". My hope is that inthe month ahead it will benefit from many and vigorous comments, criticisms, and corrections fromyou and others. You are therefore cordially invited to share your thoughts on any aspect of thisreport. You can reach me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org | T. 336 5088 0787 or in the US +1213 985 3501| Skype: newmobilityEric Britton, Lyon. 22 May 2012