Friday, September 21, 2012

Better Barkingside – The Project

Tomorrow, Saturday 22nd September is World Car Free day – an annual celebration of cities and public life, free from the noise, stress and pollution of cars. But you won’t find any of that around here, except in Ilford Town centre where we have a pedestrianised High Street or places like Westfield.

So this is a good opportunity to remind everybody about the Better Barkingside meeting next Thursday evening, 27th September 2012, and to show what is going on elsewhere. The article below was sent in by DopeyF. It is about Freiburg in Germany, a city that has featured on this blog before, back in August last year. In terms of Better barkingside, Freiburg is a lovely example of what can be achieved. Of course £2million isn’t going to go far, but it can make a start and that start has to be in the right direction so we can build from there. It is principally a public realm project and it should focus on the public, that is space for people not cars - that’s what the traders want isn’t it? Footfall. And we’ve seen what happens when there’s no traffic.

Engineering good quality of life: lessons from Europe

Freiburg in southern Germany is a remarkable place. It has a population of 240,000 and keeps winning prizes and accolades for its high quality of life. This achievement manifests itself in low levels of congestion and pollution, high levels of cycling, highly integrated and high quality bus, rail and tram services, high levels of renewable energy from sun and wind, internationally acclaimed car-free residential areas and huge success in job creation related to research and development and renewable energy. The problems that most similar UK cities face simply do not exist in Freiburg.


The how and why of Britain's underperformance is the central theme of my new book, Quality of Life and Public Management. There is no simple explanation but it can still be found in the underfunding of local government, the over-centralisation of authority in Whitehall, the lack of fit between councillors and the people they represent and the British fetish around economic growth and regeneration that misses so many opportunities to provide a broader vision.

The good news is that we can make a change, and Britain can be in the top rankings of performers. My future blogs on this network will share exactly what we have to do to bring about this transformation.

John Whitelegg is a member of the Stockholm Environment Institute, visiting professor of sustainable transport at Liverpool John Moores University. He is a former Lancaster city councillor and previously worked for the ministry of city development, housing and traffic at the North Rhine Westphalia in Duesseldorf

The whole piece is here.
Further reading:

Better Barkingside on Redbridge-i

Car free day draws the crowds

Old fashioned High Street makes a comeback

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