A disruptive project
Manifesto for Just Streets
To spark a justice conversation, we designed a manifesto with five core principles that would guide Just Streets.
To trigger new narratives, the Lab of Thought develops innovations and radical interventions in the field. To spark a justice conversation, we designed a manifest with five core principles that would guide Just Streets.
By publishing this manifest and asking a wide array of parties to sign it (see and sign it here), the aim was to kickstart a conversation about how (un)just our current streets and our mobility are. The manifest was signed by many individual citizens and by a varied group of municipalities, consultants, companies and NGO’s. This already illustrated how current, efficiency-oriented streets are excluding several alternative societal goals and activities from our public spaces.
A first meeting with this newly created community resulted in first ideas to solidify this new narrative into norms and guidelines and templates for how to make you own street more just. With the new Public Space design guideline of the City of Groningen as inspiring illustration. Currently, we are setting up a support structure to let members of the community inspire and help each other with how to go about this. Also, we translated it into a Children’s Manifest that will now be distributed to elementary schools across the Netherlands. Let us know if you want to translate it or apply it elsewhere.
The five principles for just streets:
1. Public space. Cities and villages are places where we, people, live together. The street is the space between our houses. This is public space.
2.Variation. People from young to old can do all kinds of different things on the street. Children can grow up there, plants can grow there, animals can have a place there. You can play, meet, shop. You can look around, be part of the environment and the community and you can travel through it. The activities a street is set up for depends on the location.
3. Carefree. In our streets, all people can live a healthy life, both mentally and physically. You don't have to worry about how to avoid getting hit. Not even with the question of whether you can accidentally kill or injure someone else. We focus our attention on how we remove the danger.
4.Participation. Because various activities take place on the street, the layout is thought out and implemented by a diverse group of people from different disciplines. They give each other new perspectives on the question of what a street serves. Residents participate as citizens, not as passive users of a space designed by experts.
5. Social control. We have control over the driving speed on the street. Streets can then be designed based on principles other than the speed limit of our vehicles.
More to explore
The lab of thought recommends
- Follow and engage with social media accounts that question the language we use to talk about streets, such as those of Tom Flood (who is also flipping the script on road violence), Strong Towns, Jan Kamensky. Follow Marco te Brömmelstroet as Cycling Professor on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tiktok, Reddit.
- Share information on the website roaddanger.org by adding news items on crashes and other traffic accidents that you come across in the media. By doing so, you can help raise awareness of how people write and talk about such events — often in a dehumanised way, despite the long-term, deep, and wide-ranging impact they have.
- More inspiring accounts: Playing Out, Modacity, Monkey Wrench Gang and The War on Cars.
- Read Marco te Brömmelstroet's free e-book, which forms the academic basis for The Movement.
- Take a look at the Groningen Guideline for Public Space, which refers to nine other dimensions in addition to that of mobility: accessibility, safety, human perception, health, social interaction, ecology, climate adaptation, economy, and cultural history. Learn to identify these various dimensions and to look at them as a whole.
- Read Metaphors We Live By (George Lakoff and Mark Johnson), Thinking in Systems (Donella H. Meadows), Fighting Traffic: the dawn of the motor age in the American city and Autonorama: the illusory promise of high-tech driving (Peter Norton), and New Power: how power works in our hyper-connected world (Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms).
- Watch the Ted Talk How language shapes the way we think (Lera Boroditsky).
- Follow one or more of the MOOCs offered by the University of Amsterdam: Unravelling the Cycling City, Alternative Mobility Narratives, and Reclaiming the Street for Liveable Urban Spaces or Getting Smart about Cycling Futures.
BECOME A THINKER OF TOMORROW
There is an urgent need to rethink our thinking about mobility. The current expectations on mobility innovations are often rooted in the advances in digital technology and are generally greeted with eager optimism. Unfortunately what is often overlooked are the unmet needs of humans and our planet. The Lab of Thought attempts to explain mobility from this standpoint, so we as individuals and as societies lessen our impact on the planet, now and in the future.