Dethroning the King of LA / The Ebb of Car Culture

Technology, Entrepreneurship, Society, Art

Writing Coach, Nic Nelson IMN Mentor, Strategic and Ideational Leadership
Writing Coach, Nic Nelson
IMN Mentor, Strategic and Ideational Leadership

Finding
Los Angeles, California is known around the world as a place where the car is king. It is a bellwether city when it comes to automobile culture and traffic management. And on August 11, 2015, the Los Angeles City Council approved a controversial plan to begin removing, rather than adding, traffic lanes to the city’s most important thoroughfares.

018-LA-Traffic

Implications
Los Angeles has led the way worldwide in creative traffic management engineering for more than half a century. It was the first major city to be geographically and structurally determined by the capabilities of automobiles. Los Angeles’ first automobiles were designed and built there as early as 1897. Detroit soon took over as the heart of automotive manufacturing, but Los Angeles remained the heart of automotive passion and expression from the Roaring Twenties to the present day.

Yet the automobile was never without its challengers. From streetcars and bicycles in the late 1800s to CicLAvia-Ver-Latorre-Flickr_0residential canals, monorail, elevated trains, subways, and regular commuter rail in all the decades since, other forms of transportation have competed passionately against the automobile, and have either been utterly defeated or won very limited successes.

Automobile enthusiasts among urban planners have often pointed to Los Angeles as their inspiration for how a modern megacity can competently handle heavy automobile traffic. If Los Angeles gives up that dream, will another world-class city take its place as the heartbeat of the automobile-centric lifestyle? Or might this signal the beginning of the end of automobile-centric urban planning?

Quotes:

“The Roaring Twenties… set Los Angeles on an irreversible path as a city dominated by the automobile. L.A.’s population of about 600,000 at the start of the 1920s more than doubled during the decade. The city’s cars would see an even greater increase, from 161,846 cars registered in L.A. County in 1920 to 806,264 registered in 1930. In 1920 Los Angeles had about 170 gas stations. By 1930 there were over 1,500.”

“The approved plan places a high priority on traffic safety, including making Vision Zero official citywide policy. L.A. is now committed to ‘decrease transportation-related fatality rate to zero by 2035.’ Public testimony was limited to 20 minutes, and was heavily in favor of plan approval.”

“We’ve been building for the car for about half a century now [in Los Angeles, a whole century!], so it’s understandable that old habits die hard. But the evidence is growing that traffic does indeed disappear and that reallocating road space will lead not to commuter chaos but rather to better conditions for those on foot and on bikes. Research has established the theory of disappearing traffic. Now leading cities around the world are beginning to test it.”

Sources:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/nobody-walks-in-la-the-rise-of-cars-and-the-monorails-that-never-were-43267593/?no-ist

http://la.streetsblog.org/2015/08/11/l-a-city-council-approves-new-mobility-plan-vision-zero/

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-mobility-debate-20150809-story.html

On Bicycles: 50 Ways the New Bike Culture Can Change Your Life. Edited by Amy Walker; quoted article by Bonnie Fenton. Published by New World Library, Novato California (2011) p.349-354.

What is MAKERS OF FIRE about?

Makers of Fire provokes readers to ignite change through their own creativity by using the analogy of Making Fire.

In order for fire to happen, three ingredients must be present:

  • fuel
  • oxygen
  • heat

In order to create a “burning event,” we must be

  • (1) fully present in the moment

Exponential change characterizes our world. Being fully present  includes developing an awareness of the “weak signals” of change that are all around us as well as the events and trends that are shaping our present world. This is the Fuel.

  • (2) shapers of meaning

People are shaped by stories. Shaping meaning means telling the story of the human journey in ways that capture the 21st century imagination.  We must engaged and expand our ability to think about the future. This is Oxygen.

  • (3) step into the fray

Creating the future doesn’t begin with a plan. It begins with a dream. But dreams must become acts through which we step between the Fuel of culture and the Oxygen of meaning and ignite a spark of change. This is Heat.

When you bring these three ingredients together, you become a Maker of Fire.

The book is divided in three sections: Fuel, Oxygen, and Heat.

Fuel turns its attention on our rapidly changing 21st century culture. It touches on the trends and events that are shaping our world. But not for the purpose of trend spotting or forecasting. Instead, Fuel focuses on our orientation towards futurity and towards our ever changing present moment.

Oxygen focuses on a timeless element of the human heart: our search for meaning. This second section explores the ways both theists and atheists, mystics and materialists, are tied together in a search for meaning in life. This is the human religion.

Heat gets practical. This is where dreams become deeds, genies come out of bottles, the imagined materializes into the experienced. This is where you apply your genius, creativity, and initiative to the Fuel of culture that settles like tinder at our feet and the Oxygen of meanings that swirl around us all. This is where you become a maker of fire.

The book is about the spirituality of leading from the future, a much needed corrective for those focused on the past and much desired perspective for those trying to be more engaged with the present.

The book is now available on amazon in both print and digital formats.

Will Zoos Disappear?

S for Society
Topic: Costa Rica Closes Zoos

TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

Finding: Costa Rica plans to close its two zoos and end the caging of animals by May of 2014

Implications: Is this a “weak signal” foreshadowing the disappearance of zoos world wide? The costa rican feeling about this is that they want a new way of interacting with nature. Are we entering a new era in which returning the whole of the world to as pristine a state as possible becomes a value and a goal? It may be that returning animals to the wild may be a reflection of the human desire to return to a more natural, holistic way of being connected to the natural world.

Source: http://www.ibtimes.com/costa-rica-close-zoos-citing-change-environmental-conscience-1371161

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What do you think?
What possible implications do you see or connections do you make?

Costa-Rica-closes-zoos-returns-animals-to-the-wild
An ocelot at Zoo Ave in Costa Rica. (CC/Hans Hillewaert)

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The Millennial Generation at Work

Topic: Millennials [aka Gen Y] (1980-1995) at Work

TESA: Technology/Entrepreneurship/Society/Arts

Finding: Many Millennial employees are unconvinced that excessive work demands are worth the sacrifices to their personal life.

Finding: Millennials do not feel entitled to special treatment.

Implications: How can organizations adjust to these new realities and still achieve their goals and objectives? How will new attitudes towards work/personal life balance combine with the slowdown of the developed western economies to alter overall productivity? Will increased personal happiness follow these differing values? What will be the cost or benefit to western society and/or global societies? How will this play out in the west as developing countries like China, India, and Brazil drive economic growth world wide?

Source: 2 Year Global research conducted by PwC, University of Southern California, and London Business School

Link: Global Generational Study

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