Universal Cycle Flyover

Diagram of Universal Cycle Flyover, an attachment for cars to enable vehicles in traffic jams to connect together to form a continuous cycle path

The daily traffic jam on my local high street has inspired me to think about a way to turn a traffic jam into an opportunity to a way to create safer cycling. This solution is win-win: car drivers get to stay in their cars while facilitating the creation of more traffic-free cycle routes in and out of our cities.

The concept is for all cars to be fitted with a light-weight section of Universal Cycle Flyover, designed to fit most any vehicle. Cars approaching a traffic jam simply park close enough to the next car to to enable a continuous connection for the cycle deck.

(The scheme shows a cyclist on a racing bicycle. Of course other types of bicycle would be encouraged, I just started the sketch too close to the top of the page to fit a more upright riding position.)

Planting parking spaces is a dismal affair

Oliver Broadbent holding a watering can in a carpark to illustrate his post Planting Parking Spaces

Planting parking spaces is a dismal affair.

When you water them, the water just drains away.

The rich soil underneath is capped.

Parking spaces don’t flower; don’t make nectar, don’t produce fruit that we can eat.

Insects stay away; birds fly over.

Never do they grow, rise up from the ground, spread their branches to oxygenate the air.

No one returns in 30 years time and says I planted that parking space.

No generation thanked the last for planting more.

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Will you always own a car?

Oliver Broadbent holding a small model of a bubble car to illustrate a post asking will you always own a car

By asking this question I make a choice about where the centre ground is. By framing the question I put the position ‘I will always own a car’ at the extreme. At the other extreme is ‘I will never own a car’.

The middle ground becomes some partial version of car ownership. I will own a car for a bit. I’ll think about selling it in a few years. Maybe, I will own my car with other people . I will join a car club.

Given what we know about air pollution, the contribution private transport makes to carbon emissions, the number of people killed each year by cars, and the damage caused to our communities by busy roads, why is private car ownership still considered the norm?

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Inspiration from balance : when the day = night

This week day equalled night.

I see the seasons as sine and cosine waves. Peaks and troughs for different phenomena offset from one another.

At the summer solstice, the hours of day light peak, but the rate of change of day light is zero. Nothing much seems to change.

At this time of year the hours of daylight are only half way between their winter and summer extremes, but the rate of change is at its maximum.

For an instant everything is in balance, when day equals night. But there is no pause. This is also the time of maximum change. We are now moving away from balance at the highest rate of the year.

Close up it is moving rapidly but taking the longview there is dynamic equilibrium.

I find lots I can draw inspiration from in my creative and design work at this time of year.

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What’s the least effective thing I can do to tackle the climate crisis?

I am grateful to the participant in this morning’s climate coaching call who reminded me of the power of asking the opposite question to the one you are trying to answer. Instead of asking what’s the most effective thing he could to tackle the climate crisis, he asked what’s the least he could do. Sometimes it is much easier to define what we shouldn’t be doing than what we should. But from this point of opposition we can get some clues about what we should in fact be doing.

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Culture of climate emergency

If you are interested in understanding how your organisation should perform in the climate emergency then you should be interested in organisational culture. An emergency is a state in which we require people to behave differently to normal and take urgent action.

We can understand organisational culture as the way a group of people get things done. If we want people to behave differently in the climate emergency then we need to change our organisational culture to one that is more appropriate to the urgency of the situation.

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Training with audio in the age of Zoom.

Merely create something today - an invitation not to worry and focus instead on regular practice.

In March 2020 we were all sent home and we discovered we could meet using video conferencing instead. Suddenly our wide-angled world was sliced to a quarter of its width. Our body language receptors had to cope with just head and shoulders rendered in a tiny square. And our brains had to work much harder to make sense of this reduced world view.

Just because we have lost something doesn’t mean we have to replace it anew. Just because we can substitute IRL for Zoom doesn’t mean we always should.

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Three ideas for bearing witness to the climate emergency

Image showing Boscaslte harbour, which experienced in 2004 the most extreme weather event ever seen in the UK, according to HR Wallingford.

A year on from declarations of climate emergency in the construction industry I am looking for ways to carry on emphasising the scale of the problem and the scale of the action we need to take. I feel that behind these bold declarations of emergency we are no closer to seeing the system-wide changes that we need and are instead focusing on smaller details.

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#17 Tabitha Pope – Participatory Architecture – Show notes

Tabitha Pope is an architect and lecturer, with a specialism temporary structures and participatory architecture and a passion for work that sits at the boundary of art and architecture. In this episode, produced in support of International Women’s Day, my colleague Lucy Barber interview Tabitha about:

  • What is participatory design and what benefits does it offer us in the climate emergency.
  • Challenging power in order to make architecture a more inclusive space for all under-represented groups, not just women.
  • How her practice of carpentry allows her to intervene in the design process in a different way.
  • Establishing a nature connection to help designers and citizens alike tackle the biodiversity crisis.
  • Stepping into a space of vulnerability in design in order to do things differently.
  • Creating spaces for joy and encounter to tackle loneliness and build resilience in communities.

Listen on Apple Podcasts , Sticher or by download here.

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