USM 2013 Master Classes:

USM 2013 Master Classes:

Sustainable Development, Economy & Society.

Objective: The 2013 USM master classes investigating the topic sustainable development, economy and society are organized as an open group exploration of the topic and dialog in three parts.

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Penang 2014 Traffic Safety Campaign (With Teeth)

Proposal for discussion in Focus Groups – 27 September 2013

Malausia road deaths 2013 - small“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”. That is true when it comes to transportation reform as anywhere else.  So in order to reinforce the move toward sustainable transport what should be the one  thing we decide to commit for measure?

Too many too ambitious  targets and we are lost. So let’s simplify and concentrate. What about picking one keystone project to be committed and  implemented by the highest levels of state government and making that a major program supported by a vigorous public information open data program for citizen inspection and confirmation?

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Master Class: Sustainable Development Timeline

iisd timeline cover

The Sustainable Development Timeline highlights key meetings, environmental events, publications and other milestones that have paved the path toward sustainability, starting with the release of Rachel Carson’s epic book  Silent Spring in 1962. We open the course with a review of these key events and dates, with each student asked to make a presentation to the class for an agreed set of events and years.

Click image for timeline

About the IISD:
The International Institute for Sustainable Development is a Canadian-based, international public policy research institute for sustainable development.

Since it was first articulated in the Brundtland Commission’s Our Common Future in 1987, sustainable development has never been superseded by a more compelling or universally-acceptable expression of humanity’s shared goals. At its simplest level, any form of development that is not sustainable contains the seeds of its own destruction. For development to be sustainable, it must not only generate wealth: it must also advance social justice, reduce and eventually eliminate poverty, and remain within the limits imposed by ecosystem and resource resilience.

IISD has chosen to focus on topics that are ripe for transformation—where a shift in policy has the potential to snowball and, before too long, to change the nature of the game. It is only through a focus on game-changers that we will make up the sustainability deficit that has accumulated and move towards a better future.

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eb - about the editor - 28jun13

Inside world: on bus dog at my knee

on bus dog at my knee
waiting for sweet voice
to tell when we arrive

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“Transportation” is about physical connection: places and distance, roads and bridges, concrete and steel, speed and space, money and tools, flattening and building, expertise and power, and vehicles in the eyes of the planners that for the most part might as well be empty.

“Mobility” by contrast is about another kind of connection. People. The inside world of transportation. Each time an entirely personal experience. Each person, each time, very different.

If for example  your eyes do not work well, or even at all, how sweet it is on the bus to hear that kind voice telling you when you are about to arrive at your station.

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About the editor:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, mediator and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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Mission Statement: Toward a New Mobility Agenda

Say good-bye to Old Mobility

“Old Mobility” – with its drumbeat stress on steadily increasing supply, more
vehicles, higher speeds, longer distances and more infrastructure as the auto-pilot, unexamined  answer to our city mobility problems — has been the favored path for decision-making and investment in the sector over the last 70 years. It is well-known and easy to see where it is leading.  Aggressing the planet, costing us a bundle, draining the world’s petroleum reserves, and delivering poor service for the transport majority.  It’s time to learn from the best of the rest, the several hundred cities, many of them in Europe, that are showing the way for the rest.

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Public transport advocate solicits ideas to break ‘car culture’ in Penang


Penang has around 8,000 traffic lights, creating a start and stop system that is …


– The Malay Mail OnlineThe Malay Mail Online – 6 hours ago

GEORGE TOWN, Sept 23 — A predilection for cars means that 80 per cent of transport funding is used to cater for the needs of 20 per cent of society, according to a public transport proponent today.

World Car Free Day founder Eric Britton pointed out this uneven distribution in public expenditure was an issue in many modern cities, including Penang.

“It should be the other way around where only 20 per cent funding is needed and it can fulfil the needs of 80 per cent of the society,” he said during a media focus group under the Sustainable Penang: Toward a New Mobility Agenda two-week programme this morning.

In a bid to change that, Britton is here for the two-week Sustainable Penang: Towards a New Mobility Agenda.

The programme, which will consist of daily events such as more focus groups and dialogue sessions between Britton and various groups, from non-governmental organisations to relevant government agencies, will hopefully give rise to 21 small sustainable transportation projects that could be implemented in the next 15 months in the state.

“We want to work towards the planned 2015 Penang conference on Implementing Sustainable Transport in Smaller Asian Cities so we hope to have something to share by then,” he said.

According to Britton, Penang’s transport system is “over-built” and “poorly used” as most infrastructure was catered to those who travel by cars.

“Why not build infrastructure for the groups that don’t travel by cars such as the disabled, the very young or the very old? When infrastructure is built for them and systems put to ease their mobility, the system will suit everyone, not just one group of people,” he said.

Penang has over-built infrastructures that are poorly used, says Eric Britton. — Picture by K.E. OoiHe said if Penang were to continue to be driven by its fast-paced automobile industry, it will soon end up as a city that is not only unsustainable but also not liveable.

He expressed his disappointment at the fast pace with which Penang has adapted to what he termed as a “car culture” where there are more cars on the roads than expected.

“Now that Penang is in this unacceptable present trend, it will be a challenge to change it and this will require the participation of civil societies to get the message across,” he said.

Amongst the proposals to be considered to deal with such challenges include removing half of the more than 8,000 traffic lights in the state.

“We are in a start and stop system so it would be great for Penang to remove half the traffic lights currently installed and have in place a better traffic flow system,” he said.

World Car Free Day founder Eric Britton will be in Penang for the two-week Sustainable Penang programme. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

Other suggestions he came up with that could make up the 21 projects include having a dedicated bicycle lane, creating laws and infrastructure to allow safer mobility for those who don’t travel by cars, lowering the speed limits so that motorcyclists can share the roads safely with cars and letting each project be a learning experience for all road users to change mindsets and trends.

“For these projects to succeed, all large transportation projects should be set aside and the funds be used to implement these smaller projects which will in the long run prove to be more effective in managing the transportation and traffic flow system,” Britton said.

The two-week programme is from September 22 until October 5.

For a full list of the events, visit


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eb - about the editor - 28jun13

Point of view: Rapid transit system a better option than tunnel

Hardly a day that passes that someone somewhere on this gasping planet does not come up with a bright idea for a project for constructing high cost new infrastructure the main achievement of which ultimately will be to increase the number of vehicles in whatever the given space is.  This is so well known at the leading edge of transportation thinking and practice that it would be  hardly worthy of discussion, other than the fact that these  bright ideas appear all too often and in all too  many places. They need to be dealt with in a positive sense and with as much diplomacy as we can muster.


Enjoying the bridge in Penang

Here is a perfect  example from Penang which is refreshing given the way in which the author takes on the challenge of making a positive proposal instead of just lambasting the tunnel option. One might prefer not to specify the technology that will be used to improve throughput on the existing road/bridge system in this increasingly congested part of the world (in this case LRT or monorail).  However the main fundamentals are in place in this excellent newspaper article and worthy of the attention of all of those of us who care about sustainable transport, and above all the people and voters of Penang who are in a position to make this choice themselves — and not have the final decision foisted on them by people with approaches and agendas that do not necessarily match up with sustainable transport policy and practice in the 21st-century.  After all, it is their city. 

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