UN HABITAT3 – SDG 11. 7 PUBLIC SPACE GOALS AND CHALLENGES

Key Messages from the Future of Places:

1.     People-centered approach to planning

As an arena for public use and social interaction, public spaces are most often developed, managed and maintained by municipal government. If the municipal government adopts a people-centered approach to urban planning, they will more effectively achieve sustainable development. Emphasis needs to be placed on a shared responsibility between community and private entities with regard to the localized planning and maintenance of public space.

2.     Inclusive public space for all, particularly vulnerable groups

Attention needs to be given to vulnerable members of the population, including the elderly, the disabled, youth, and low income groups, to ensure their social and political inclusion in the allocation and design of public spaces. Public space has a responsibility to be flexible and open enough to serve a variety of users and uses, ranging from informal to formal settlements. Well-designed public spaces not only contribute to improve the visual and spatial character of a city, but also stimulate and enhance intergenerational, social and economic activities.

3.     Public space that respects human scale and behavior

All public space needs to be of a human scale and respond to a variety of functions and patterns of use based on an understanding of human behavior, health, needs, sensibilities and aspirations. Spaces are defined by their shape and the quality of their edges. Simple temporary and tactical interventions can test and promote more permanent changes.

4.     A citywide network of connected streets and public spaces

A holistic, evidence-based approach to the city is necessary with attention focused not only on the space itself, but its form, function and connectivity.  Streets should serve as multimodal networks of social and economic exchange, forming the urban framework of interconnected public space. Walkability, social interaction, multimodal mobility and accessibility should be supported by a fine-grained block and street network lined with buildings providing amenities and services with a mix of uses and sizes.

5.     Economic productivity of public space

Investing in public space can have powerful social, economic, cultural and health benefits. If people are committed to their future in a specific place, they invest more time and capital in that place, which has a positive impact on the local economy and creates a virtuous cycle of economic growth. Public space stimulates the small scale, local and informal economy, as well as generates tax revenue.

6.     Access to public space – public and private spheres

In many places there has been a reduction of urban public space, a lack of clear boundaries between the public and private spheres and diminished freedom of expression and movement. The market alone cannot always provide a variety of public and private open spaces. A more nuanced range that provides a variety of open places, including semi-public and semi-private space is needed.

7.     Sustainable public spaces that are healthy, safe, resilient, energy-conserving and resource efficient

Public space and the buildings that surround and define it need to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. Social sustainability requires security, equity and justice; economic sustainability benefits from affordable capital and operating budgets; environmental sustainability addresses ecological and health issues. These include clean air, water and soil, green micro-climates and the mitigation and adaptation to the Urban Heat Island Effect and Climate Change. Effective use should be made of green technologies and systems. Architecture and urban design that is adaptable and appreciated is cared for and sustained for a longer time.

8.     Culture and context of public space

Public space is made unique through cultural and contextual elements that complement and enrich its identity. Spaces should be flexible and respond to the geography, climate, culture and heritage specific to its locality. Public arts can be an effective method for celebrating community identity and belonging in open spaces.

 

Action and Implementation:

There is a need for action and implementation mechanisms that support and protect public space and its users.

Advocacy and Mobilization
Raise awareness and create movements to mobilize stakeholders in the pursuit to build community. Promotion of discussions, forums, workshops, pop-up projects and public space prizes will further mobilize and increase awareness of and sense of belonging.

Measurement and Monitoring
Establish policy and frameworks at the national level for cities to allocate an appropriate percentage of the land to public space. An inventory of public space assets in a city will reveal the availability of public space typologies, allowing city-builders to address shortfalls and encourage a balance of public spaces throughout a city.

Public Space Financing Solutions
Examination of creative financing solutions such as public land acquisition, conversion of private space to public space or land value capture will be effective in producing greater amounts of economically sustainable public space.

Policies and Legislation for Public Space
Establish policies, legislation, and regulatory mechanisms for the provision, design, management and use of public spaces. Long-term structures, management mechanisms and partnerships at the national, regional and local level can align governments and other stakeholder’s interests. Open feedback and accountability mechanisms can ensure two-way discussions among stakeholders.

Empowerment of Marginalized Groups
Set in place processes for the inclusion of all ages, the vulnerable, and the disadvantaged. Establish a legal framework to ensure the inclusion of disadvantaged groups in public space discussion and processes. Special emphasis should be placed on job creation, livelihoods and quality of life for low-income groups.

Tools and Knowledge Management
Establish open-source knowledge management platforms with training workshops, capacity building, tools, best practices, model legislation, statistics, and methodologies for creating and managing public space. Empirical evidence-based research on the practice and theory of public space needs to be made widely available.

FoP Agenda Cover

Future of Places, Stockholm

1 July 2015

Rdg 2018 #TheCityWeNeed

Climate Change Centre Reading – CCCRdg strongly advise Reading Council to enroll the green process to become a sustainable place, get on-board the European Green Capital Award! More than 1000 grassroots organisations in Rdg would back the council in forming first non-dividend post-carbon economy net-borough. Every missed opportunity adding up to #climatechange. It is #TimetoAct.

Where’s Reading Heading #wrh Rdg CAN!

– Have a well-established record of achieving high environmental objectives.

– Commit to ambitious goals for future environmental improvement and sustainable development.

– Inspire other cities through new ideas, best practices and experiences.

LOGO CE_Vertical_EN_quadri

The Commission has launched the search for the 2018 European Green Capital. The award is given to a European city that has demonstrated a well-established record of achieving high environmental standards and is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for future sustainable development. Cities across Europe with more than 100,000 inhabitants are eligible to apply for the title. ?#?EUGreenWeek? Find out more here:http://ec.europa.eu/…/eur…/launch-of-the-2018-egc/index.html

Where’s Reading Heading?

In August 2014, Reading Museum secured a second round of funding from the Happy Museum Project.

Our new project, ‘Where’s Reading Heading?’ looks at the past, present and future development of Reading. It seeks to provoke debate about how Reading will sustain a growing population and build a successful low carbon economy whilst ‘Narrowing the Gaps’ between different sectors in our communities.

Current work being led by the University of Reading, Reading UK CIC and Barton Wilmore, through the Reading 2050 initiative, envisages a smart and sustainable future for Reading. This will involve communities coming together to influence how the town will evolve in the decades ahead.

To promote debate the Museum asked Russell Alsop of local production company Ginger & Pickles to make a short documentary film, drawing together the views and knowledge of a widespread group of Reading people. This has included school pupils, academics, local politicians, business people, ecologists, architects, and residents from our local neighbourhoods.

As part of the project, radio style interviews were conducted. Within them are many views and learnings from experts and active citizens which enabled the film-maker to shape the documentary. You can listen to these on the museum’s SoundCloud (follow the link at the bottom of the page).

We hope our ‘Where’s Reading Heading’ film may encourage you to get involved.

The organisations that took part in the film-making process include:

  • Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC)
  • Berkshire Local Nature Partnership (LNP)
  • Greater Reading Environmental Network (GREN)
  • Nature Nurture
  • Reading Climate Change Centre
  • Reading Sustainability Centre
  • Reading Voluntary Action (RVA)
  • The Walker Institute, Reading University

Each of these local organisations provides opportunities for Reading residents to become active in initiatives influencing Reading’s future environment. Click on the links below to go to their websites and find out more – the LNP and GREN sites also include directories of other local groups.

Source: Reading Museum • Where’s Reading Heading?

Everything you wanted to know about the UN climate talks but were afraid to ask

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COP 21: Road to ParisEditor’s note: 2015 is shaping up to be a pivotal year with respect to climate change as growing concern about impacts converges with a critical stage in the decades-long process of shaping an international agreement to change our trajectory. To help us all prepare for the potentially game-changing 21st gathering of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) in Paris beginning Nov. 30, by reporter Fiona Harvey. This first installment answers some basic questions about the U.N. talks.

Why 2015 could be the most important year ever for curbing climate change

Climate change negotiations seem to crawl along interminably at the pace of the glaciers they are meant to protect, with little perceptible progress as meeting follows meeting and conference follows lackluster conference. But this year we are seeing remarkable momentum building toward a historic conference in Paris in the closing days of 2015, by the end of which we will either have a new international agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, or we will have seen the last of truly global efforts to strike a deal on saving our planet.

We began the year with the outcome of Lima, last December’s United Nations gathering at which delegates drafted the outline of such an agreement that would come into force starting in 2020. That in turn followed a landmark deal between the U.S. and China in November to set limits on their greenhouse gas output. By the end of spring, all of the world’s major economies should be coming up with similar plans. Then, after some months of considering these proposals, and as 2015 ends, Paris will host COP 21 — the most important meeting on global warming since the Copenhagen talks six years earlier. What is decided there will determine the future of Earth’s climate for decades to come.

What is supposed to happen in Paris?

Governments will meet for two weeks to hammer out a new global agreement that will establish targets for bringing down global greenhouse gas emissions after 2020. Both developed and developing countries are expected to bring stringent goals to the table: absolute cuts in greenhouse gas emissions for industrialized countries, and curbs or relative reductions — such as cuts in CO2 produced per unit of GDP — in the case of poorer nations.

Why after 2020?

The world’s major economies, and many smaller ones, already have agreed on targets on their emissions up to 2020. These were settled at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, which marked the first time both developed and developing countries had agreed on such aims at the U.N. But that meeting was overshadowed by scenes of chaos and bitter fighting, so the 2020 targets — while still valid — could not at that time take the form of a full international and legally binding pact. The hope is that Paris will see less discord and a more constructive approach to continuing action on emissions to 2030 and beyond.

What is at stake?

With the publication of the fifth report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013–14, we know more about the science of climate change than ever before, and what we know is troubling. The research embodied in that report put it beyond doubt that the climate is changing under human influence, and warned of the dire consequences — in the form of widespread droughts, floods, heat waves and other weather extremes — if greenhouse gases are left unchecked.

What is also at stake is the future of international action on global warming. As the Copenhagen summit showed, there are deep rifts among leading countries and among populous blocs over what action should be taken, by whom and how quickly, and how to pay for it.

The U.N. process of negotiations on a global accord has been going on for more than 20 years, since the first IPCC report in 1990 summed up our knowledge of climate science and concluded the world should be seriously concerned. That led to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by virtually all countries in 1992 and committing them to make efforts toward “preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with Earth’s climate system” without specifying what or how much they should do. The Kyoto protocol of 1997 was intended to flesh out those preventive actions by stipulating cuts in emissions from industrialized nations, but that collapsed when the U.S. Congress refused to ratify the protocol because it did not impose emissions targets on developing countries such as China. There followed years of stagnation in the talks, until at Copenhagen in 2009 major developed and developing economies agreed jointly for the first time to cut their emissions or curb their rise, respectively.

After the damage done at Copenhagen, the talks limped on. But the process is fragile. If Paris witnesses scenes of discord and high drama anything like those of 2009, and if there is no clear outcome, it is hard to see that faith in the U.N.’s ability to hold nations together on this issue could survive.

What should governments agree on?

They should agree on post-2020 emissions targets for all the leading economies, and less stringent actions on emissions for all nations. Three of the leading players have already set out their intended emissions targets, which bodes well for the outcome of Paris. The European Union has pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2030. By 2025, the U.S. will cut by 26 to 28 percent, compared with 2005 levels. And China will ensure that its emissions peak by no later than 2030.

Will these targets be enough?

No. After nations have submitted their proposals for cuts or curbs, due to the U.N. in April, the plans will be subject to close scrutiny for several months to give all countries a chance to judge them. There is a degree of gamesmanship here: No country wants to pledge too much too soon, lest it give away a competitive advantage. The results of the scrutiny will be a key part of the talks in Paris and could be a stumbling block to agreement.

This all sounds depressingly familiar. Haven’t we been here before with Copenhagen?

There are some reasons to be cheerful. Copenhagen did produce an agreement, though not in the full legal form many countries would have liked. Officially, at least, the world is committed to meeting those aims by 2020. So if Paris produces a fresh agreement lasting into the 2020s, it is a step forward.

What legal form will an agreement take?

We don’t yet know. There are three main options on the table, laid out at the U.N. conference in Durban in 2011 at which it was agreed that the Paris meeting should take place: “a protocol, another legal instrument, or an agreed outcome with legal force under the convention applicable to all parties.” The third is the most likely.

What does that mean?

We don’t quite know that, either. Some countries take it to mean that any targets agreed at Paris will be legally binding on the countries adopting them, so countries could be subject to international penalties if they are not met. Others argue that the framework agreement — a core agreement setting out the principle that countries must take on post-2020 targets — could be legally binding at an international level, while the targets themselves would be recorded separately and so not strictly binding under law.

The question of the legal form of an agreement has been a vexed one at these talks, and has a checkered history. The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 was fully legally binding under the foundation treaty, the UNFCCC, and signed by the U.S. and nearly every other country. But that meant nothing in practice when the U.S. Congress immediately refused to ratify it and left the protocol in limbo. Other nations that did ratify later reneged on their commitments. None has suffered any sanctions as a result.

Copenhagen’s “political declaration,” outlining the pledges on emissions made by the world’s biggest economies, had to be relegated to an unofficial appendix in the legal outcome of that summit, and so was derided by some. But, though technically it had less legal force than Kyoto, it is at least still in place six years later and countries are still committed to meeting those pledges by 2020. It also forms the basis of the Paris talks.

Paris will not produce a fully articulated treaty like the UNFCCC — there is not enough time or appetite for that — but as long as it produces a definite outcome, with all of the major parties agreeing to targets even if they are not legally enforceable in the strictest sense, then it will represent significant progress and should be enough to keep the U.N. process intact.

What if the talks collapse at Paris?

That is likely to mark the effective end of international action on the climate coordinated by the U.N.

There are divergent views on the centrality of the U.N. talks to preventing dangerous climate change. These are “top-down” talks: Governments decide at an international level how much of an emissions reduction they will contribute and draft national policies to cascade this through their economies. An alternative is the “bottom-up” strategy, which posits that businesses and civil society organizations are more effective in taking prompt action and will do so in their own interests while governments still argue over semicolons in an international treaty.

Ultimately, these two approaches are closely linked. Top-down targets can spur bottom-up actions, while successes in bottom-up projects can encourage governments to be more courageous in setting national climate strategies. The reverse is also true: Without top-down negotiations, some companies are likely to see a commercial advantage in acting as a free rider, stalling on emissions cuts and refusing to take part in bottom-up actions.

So it is likely that some element of both will be necessary. The U.N. is not the only top-down forum: the U.S. leads the Major Economies Forum, and the G7 and the G20 also discuss climate actions. But the U.N. is the only arena that draws all developed and developing countries together and gives small nations a voice to challenge the biggest.

And after Paris?

That is anybody’s guess. No sooner had President Obama, late last year, toasted his deal on emissions with the Chinese president than Republicans vowed to strike it down. Any commitment made now for action until 2025 or beyond, in any country, runs that risk.

What can go wrong?

Lots. Although China has set forth its commitment, other key developing countries — India chief among them — have yet to do so, and may stretch the deadline. The process by which countries will review each other’s targets between now and the Paris gathering is also fraught with uncertainty, and it is not clear what will happen if countries cannot agree how to judge the targets.

Another key question is over finance. Developing countries were promised at Copenhagen at least $30 billion in “fast-start financing” by 2012 to help them make the investments needed in low-carbon infrastructure and begin adapting to the effects of climate change. That promise was broadly achieved — but by 2020, those finance flows are supposed to reach $100 billion per year. Where will the money come from? Rich countries are adamant that only a minor amount will come from their taxpayers, and the rest from the private sector. Poor countries are demanding more, and not cash redirected from existing aid budgets. It may be possible to find some middle ground, but this could be a breaking point.

Paris will be a crunch conference in every sense. The fragile U.N. process could emerge resurgent if nations can come together, or it could be battered to an effective end. Either way, global emissions are likely to continue rising for years more, increasing the risk that warming will exceed the 2 C mark that scientists posit as the threshold beyond which climate change becomes irreversible. Paris will not be enough in itself to prevent that, but it could go a long way to deciding our fate. View Ensia homepage

 

This article originally appeared at Ensia.com.

Car-Free Days UK participation in the National Climate March, London 7th March

Why CCCRdg has launched a campaign for a national
“Monthly Car-Free Work-Day in the UK”.

Reflecting on BBC4´s “Climate Change and Numbers”, Climate Change Centre Reading (CCCRdg) has launched in Reading a campaign for a national “Monthly Car-Free Work-Day in the UK”;

Following the Deep Decarbonisation route set out for a successful climate agreement in Paris at COP21, CCCRdg hope the National Climate March, London on Saturday 7th will stake out actions necessary to divest from dirty energy that not only adds to already high greenhouse levels but also pollutes the air, our common realm, which directly and utterly affects our health. The right thing to do in order to comply with changing to zero carbon fuels is to slow down our “business as usual” (BAS) behaviour.

With a regular Car-Free Work-Day, can UK take a lead on behaviour change divesting away from fossil fuels? That is the question.

The People’s Climate March last September was huge. With around 40,000 people marching in London, 400,000 in New York and many thousands more taking part across the world, together we made history.

2015 needs to be even bigger. The climate talks in Paris this December are crucial if we’re going to protect all that we love. Our movement is growing, and we’re more diverse and determined than ever before.

With a regular Car-Free Work-Day, can UK take a lead on behaviour change divesting away from fossil fuels? That is the question.

CFDUK

Across the UK people are already building change – from divestment of funds which prop up the fossil fuel industry, to front-line communities fighting unsustainable energy extraction and fracking, through to those paving the way for a transition towards a 100% renewable energy future which would bring about an estimated one million new climate jobs in the UK alone. 

Meet the CAR-FREE WORK-DAY BLOC on the 7th March to make the link between climate change and switching to zero carbon fuels. Put the climate on the agenda ahead of the 2015 General Elections and the December 2015 Paris United Nations COP21 climate talks.

ATTEND THE CAR-FREE WORK-DAY BLOC RALLY OUTSIDE PARLIAMENT ON 7TH MARCH https://www.facebook.com/events/632679746859395/

How to fins us: The Car Free Days UK Bloc will be under the Protecting Our World theme (No.6) http://www.timetoact2015.org/#!blocs/c7hs Look out for the Orange flag to find the general area -then we’ll be there with the CAR FREE DAYS UK BANNER

Details

12.30pm, Saturday 7th March

Lincoln’s Inn Fields [map]

Nearest tube: Holborn

Join the facebook group here

Let´s work together to help achieve this, it will be an important step in solving and laying a just and fair developing pathway, switching to zero carbon fuels.

[A regular car-free work-day in Reading and UK could fuel an International monthly Car-Free Work-Day which could be an astonishing example of traffic development and public realm. Reading has great potential to embrace the sustainable pathway and become a British role-model in climate change (the air is our all urban common) to honour a successful climate change agreement taking place in Paris December 2015.]

And together let’s continue to power up and celebrate our movement – locally, nationally and internationally – throughout 2015, and beyond

7 MARCH – Join the Car-Free Work-Day Bloc @ Time To Act National Climate March!

In our efforts to motivate as many people as possible to leave the car for a day and join in our Car-Free Days, Climate Change Centre Reading (CCCRdg) has taken a huge lap forward by campaigning for Car-Free Days until the end of the year.

Yes, we are proud of announcing CCCRdg supporting the Join the Car-Free Work-Day Bloc @ Time To Act National Climate March!

BREAKING: Please see our press release below, we hope you will find the piece interesting,

Climate Change – It’ s time for decisions now! not waste billions on campaigning.

The Future of Places

Join us at the Car-Free Work-Day Bloc on the Time to Act Climate demonstration on 7th March!

Details

12.30pm, Saturday 7th March

Lincoln’s Inn Fields [map]

Nearest tube: Holborn

Join the facebook group here

Let´s work together to help achieve this, it will be an important step in solving and laying a just and fair developing pathway, switching to zero carbon fuels.

Learn about the fossil fuels problems, that causing climate change in our local community and further afield, and what we in the local community are doing, and can do to help tackle such matters.

2015 CHANGE will honour the 2-degree Celsius limit as a limit to safeguard the world environment in Togethernessship 😉

BREAKING: CCCRdg has launched a campaign for a national “Monthly Car-Free Work-Day in the UK”  

A regular car-free work-day in Reading and UK could fuel an International monthly Car-Free Work-Day which could be an astonishing example of traffic development and public realm. Reading has great potential to embrace the sustainable pathway and become a British role-model in climate change (the air is our all urban common) to honour a successful climate change agreement taking place in Paris December 2015.

CLIMATE CHANGE IT´S #TIMETOACT2015 – MARCH 7TH – SAVE THE DATE

#TIMETOACT2015

Every day more and more people are waking up to climate change. What scientists predicted decades ago is happening right now. And we have little time left to advert catastrophe. But those in power have not yet woken up, or are unwilling to act.

On March 7th, two months before the election, we will take to the streets of London in a creative mass action. We will set out clearly what must happen now to cut emissions and build a better future. No more half-hearted promises: it´s Time to Act on Climate change.

Join the Car-Free Work-Day Bloc @ Time To Act  National Climate March!
Event – https://www.facebook.com/events/632679746859395/

2015 is a crucial year for the climate. in the UK, we must tell politicians seeking election that there is no mandate for climate-wrecking business as usual. Then at UN talks in Paris in December, governments will come together to strike a deal for the climate.

Our future is at stake.

Find out how you can help:
www.campaigncc.org

Welcome to Join our local facebook group “Climate Change Reading”https://www.facebook.com/groups/CCCRdg.community/

Mobility survey reveals three-quarters of Helsinki journeys are sustainable

A recent mobility survey carried out by the City Planning Department in Helsinki has revealed that on a weekday 34% of citizens walk and 32% use public transport. The survey results found that many people are now choosing to travel on foot or by public transport instead of taking their cars.

Helsinki
HELSINKI, FINLAND. PHOTOGRAPH: HEMIS/ALAMY VIA THEGUARDIAN.COM

Researchers found that females between the ages of 7-17 traveled most often with an average of four trips a day. People over 65 were found to make more than two trips over the same period. On average, Helsinkians make three trips a day. The survey also revealed that middle-aged females preferred to use public transport compared to males, who were twice as likely to use a car to travel into the city.

The survey took place in September and October 2014 and 3,000 city residents were interviewed. The results of this survey reveal that only 22% people travel by car, down from 27% in 2010.

In May 2006, Helsinki was one of 15 European cities with a green vision. Its green vision was turned into a joint Memorandum which established the European Green Capital Award which rewards environmentally friendly urban living. Cities must encourage their citizens to change their travel behaviour and try alternatives to the car such as cycling, walking and public transport. Efficient urban transport is fundamental to citizens’ quality of life and to economic development.

Green Cities fit for Life
via European Green Capital.

UK Tackling climate change

 

Tackling climate change

In this video, Dr Steve Smith, who leads on climate science at the UK Committee on Climate Change, discusses climate policy in the UK, the role of science in creating policy, and how emission targets can be met. For more information you can visit the UK Committee on Climate Change website.

 

 

Source: OUR CHANGING CLIMATE: PAST, PRESENT…UNIVERSITY OF READING

Continue reading “UK Tackling climate change”

Reading and UK Petition – Monthly Car-Free Work-Day #TimeToAct2015 #MyCarFreeDaysRdg

Reading Borough Council
Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee
Local Transport Plan (LTP3)
Civic Offices
Reading
RG1 7AE

Subject: Reading climate change air-pollution strategy and monthly Car-Free Work-Day

Reading and UK Petition – Monthly Car-Free Work-Day #TimeToAct2015 #MyCarFreeDaysRdg

Reading should get on board a monthly car-free work-day!

As part of a car free day every motorised vehicle should be forbidden in the whole of the Regional area; with the exception of public transport, emergency services, buses and minibuses, taxis and public vehicles of authority (office, transfer of funds, collection of garbage). Certain people can for exceptional reasons benefit from passes delivered by the municipality.

A car free day is the opportunity to make motorists more aware of the environmental impact of pollution and allow better use of public space.

Background

Air Quality
Air quality is important for our health, quality of life and the environment. Air pollution is harmful to human health, plants and animals, and also corrodes materials and buildings.

Transport
An effective transport system is fundamental to building sustainable and thriving local communities. The challenge is to minimise transport’s contribution to green-house gas emissions, through reducing the need to travel, encouraging the use of more sustainable modes of transport and alternative energy sources, and reducing congestion

  • Develop a transport infrastructure which supports more low carbon travel options for people in Reading
    By developing a friendly pedestrian/cycling infrastructure such as bridges, premier cycle routes. By supporting electrical charging stations for electric vehicles and introducing more cycle hire
  • Encourage non-car travel for all sectors of the population, through targeted advice, incentives and enforcement
    By promoting and helping to develop personalised travel planning,  introducing incentive schemes like a monthly car-free work-day and increasing enforcement on parking and bus lanes
  • Reduce energy use and ‘embodied energy’ in transport infrastructure
    By better control of lighting and use of low energy lighting. Reducing unnecessary lighting of street furniture
  • Manage transport infrastructure and services to prepare for climate change
    By developing infrastructure appropriately given the changing climate, reallocating space for public transport and cycling and introducing smarter ways to manage congestion and speed, e.g. with social media and best practice road layouts and divest from fossil fuels
  • Reduce the air pollution from vehicles
    By supporting relevant technology and car-pooling schemes, expanding park and ride system and supporting charging sites for electric vehicles in our sharing economy

Overall we fully agree with the “Outline Development Framework- Reading Air Quality”, however we believe a Reading monthly car-free work-day is a perfect opportunity to build upon London’s success with their clean air initiative, and create Reading’s own sustainable pathway route for its citizens. We would like to put forward this idea to Reading Borough Council of using the site Reading’s Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) during the period of 2015-2020 as a functional space to let local community groups use street space as a sustainability hub to promote Reading to becoming a greener place to live and work in. The “monthly car-free work-day” will promote various green project solutions and can also be a testing facility for monitoring and analysing local community for the council.

We hope a car-free work-day will lead to a change in behaviour, enabling the community to work towards becoming a zero-emissions society.

A regular car-free work-day in Reading could fuel an International monthly Car-Free Day which could be an astonishing example of traffic development and public realm. Reading has great potential to embrace the sustainable pathway and become a British role-model in climate change (the air is our all urban common) to honour a successful climate change agreement taking place in Paris December 2015.

On behalf of the Climate Change Centre Reading (CCCRdg), as Reading’s leader in the green movement against climate change, we would like to ask you for your consideration of our proposed project to help drive Reading’s bid for a monthly “Car-Free Work-Day”.

This is an event that has been held in cities around the world, with areas being closed off to cars thus encouraging people to use more sustainable forms of transport, such as walking, cycling or public transport. The event challenges people to:

  • Spend one day without the use of a car
  • Observe the difference this makes to their locality
  • Reflect on how car use can be reduced permanently

This will help us to achieve our aims of reducing air pollution, developing sustainability and increasing Reading’s green credentials through:

  • Encouraging people to find alternatives to car use
  • Reducing emissions / pollution
  • Raising awareness

A Car-Free Work-Day has the potential to improve the quality of life in Reading through a reduction in traffic, and therefore noise and pollution, and also make people more aware of how their own actions impact on the environment. It will also increase Reading’s chances of enrolling for the European Green Capital Award in the future.

We want to strive for community usage of the streets in order to preserve its heritage qualities but also as a sustainable landmark for the future.

Balanced and mixed use of our public space between integrated interest groups; people, bikes, public transport and cars is a kind of damage control, keeping the new agenda safe and sustainable. Especially regarding the cars’ use of the public realm, which is still 80% of street space (if you design mixed use streets you design a healthy city). This high percentage for car use needs to drop dramatically to cope with future challenges. For instance if urban neighborhoods could interact and agree (Empowered interconnection) to regular car free days on, life in our citizen communities would improve considerably.

Our main aim is to bring together businesses, the local community, the Government and those who want to learn about Climate Change, in order to create collaborative momentum to reduce CO2, find new solutions to commuting, increase remote working and develop sustainability in the Thames Valley Berkshire, and beyond.

We hope after the first year trial the Reading Borough Council, who have already evaluated future usage of streets as a historic move and i.e. permanent decision for the Thames Valley Berkshire area, will take action and actually do something that will lead us and a small part of the UK in to new pathway for a shift away from fossil fuels promoting the Reading area as one front leaders in traffic development of turning into city status for 2020 and forth coming…

This brilliant illustration shows how much public space we’ve surrendered to cars

There are very good reasons to hold community street events in a traffic-free street:

  • Making use of the space that a car-free day provide~ Boris Johnson
  • Streets are open and ‘owned’ by everyone and so very accessible
  • Communities normally suffering from traffic can be opened up
  • Neighbourhood shopping centres can be revitalized by a traffic-free event
  • They provide new sites for local street markets which are very popular

Once the traffic is cleared the space opens new possibilities for community activities, particularly in areas needing regeneration – their image can be improved. Communities of different ethnic origins sometimes use streets in different ways, drawing on their own culture.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your consideration and invite you to consider future meetings with us or events to discuss from a business perspective the challenges set out in new agenda of curbing CO2 emissions and contribute to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC´s proposed reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050, necessary if the world is to achieve and to stay below the 2degree target.

Climate Change Centre Reading (CCCRdg)
17 Newbury Close
Charvil
Berkshire
United Kingdom

www.CCCRdg.org.uk
Contact No: 07447 934700

 

NOTES
Note: Clean Air in London builds public understanding of poor air quality but does not provide advice

CAL 186 About_environmental SCIENTIST April 2013_Air Quality

CAL 186 EA letter to Sutton re SWLI 091112_redacted and reduced file size

CAL 186 10 steps_Smog hospitalisations

CAL 208 Presentation to Public Health Presents 271112_Benefits slide only

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jan/31/air-activists-social-media-pollution-city

– See more at: http://cleanair.london/solutions/10-steps-for-clean-air-in-london/#sthash.wS9LAHB5.dpuf