Twitter is my media feed. They make it easy to scroll through the highlights and when something catches my eye then I click on it and read the full article. There was an article in Fast Company that caught my eye this past week that I keep thinking about. It is about an average neighborhood in South Korea that embarked on a journey to get rid of all cars for one month.
It was ambitious but the timing is really relevant as transportation is an area going through massive disruption. Cars will soon be driven for us by software, hopefully more money will go into trains to transport people from city to city, as more people live in urban areas (I believe something like 80% of the world in the next decade) that bicycles become one of the number one transportation vehicles, that sharing vehicles will become more important, that you can use services like Scoot, etc.
This project was called the Ecomobility Festival with an eye towards the future. The planning process took two years. They handed out temporary bikes, they rerouted buses, they gave out electric scooters. They also allowed cafes to expand onto the sidewalks.
After the month long project the city officials spent a lot of time talking to residents of the community including shop owners, educators, etc. The town really did not want to go back to the way it was before but to make some changes based on the success of the project. Wider sidewalks, lowering of the speed limit, eliminating parking areas inside the city to encourage people to walk and use bikes more. The community united in a different way. There will be one day a week where the city becomes a car free zone again going forward.
The project cost $10m to do. Konrad Otto-Zimmerman, who is the visionary behind this project, is taking the show on the road. Next stop Johannesburg.