28 August 2007

AlSo: Presentations et al

Rick was off from work but was still up ahead of us on his daily walk or run. We headed to the Urban Center for presentations by the keynote speakers. The most stand-out presentations had to be by Halik and Ole Thorson. Halik talked about the urban planning history of Istanbul and was quite open about the city’s lack of planning for bike and ped master plans. I accosted him after the presentation to compliment and ask about how he would suggest dealing with challenges of changing traffic infrastructure in such an ancient city. Ole lives in Barcelona and has created an extensive ped master plan. He is adamant that all cities should develop a ped plan and decried that almost none do. Corey and Zeren had a lenghy chat with him just after the presentation, and I spoke with him later in the day. What a fascinating fellow, and such a marvelous presentation! After these presentations we were invited to go outside where there was a PARK-ing demonstration where the parking lot had previously been. Astroturf, benches, bike parking, a 4-tandem, bean bag chairs, art exhibition and yoga. Good times, good time. After lunch came time for our presentation on “Changing Car-Oriented Attitudes”. Meghan had put together a lovely powerpoint (though next time we should focus more on ped and calm down on bikes), and Corey, Meghan and I had been up late the night before tweaking it some and forming an outline. The presentation went well, I thought (although, to be honest, I am rather senSitive about being contradicted and interrupted during formal-ish presentations). We broke up the discussion into 4 groups and then came back at the end for general feedback which seemed pretty popular. Meghan typed up comments that each group had made based on our notes. Daniel then presented on Rails to Trails and Greenways with an interesting discussion about the evolution of master plans. A few people in the room had actually been involved with the inception or development of master plans and building networks. I believe Eduardo, Daniel and Thiago have all been involved with this process. Unfortunately we missed the presentations on carfree housing which had occurred the same time as ours, but we got a rundown from Ralph, Markus and Ed on the topic. The evening was all about a wonderful boat tour with lots of wine (that sadly ran out before the boat docked. Bikers can drink!). talked with Corey, Sylvia, Maura, Jason the Great Facilitator, Ben and Pippa. Pippa works with BankWatch, a largeish NGO that monitors WTO, European Bank, etc. Maura discussed how she decided to go into Urban Design and how their teacher decided to put Istanbul’s bid in for 2007 TCC. Maura and three of the other coordinators are working together on a baseline study and urban design project, so it was a natural extension to work on this Conference. They are all such good company. And good dancers! I try to remember what Sylvia, Corey and I talk about, but it’s hard because we seem to talk about . . . everything. Jason talked about his background in international activism and the G8 Conference. He has previously been involved in World Carfree Network and is acting as their facilitator for the AGM this year. When the boat docked, everyone spilled out. Corey and I, aged and wizened as we are, went back to Rick’s while Elly and Meghan headed out on the town with some others.

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