RSS Entries ATOM Entries

Posts Tagged ‘London’

Cyclists account for 24% of London’s morning commute

Posted in Movements, Research by Jessica Bird on June 27th, 2013

Source: The Guardian

541523099_781701f19a_z
Photo by Karla Lopez via Flickr CC

From the article ‘Cyclists make up a quarter of London vehicles says TfL‘ by Laura Laker:

Cyclists make up an incredible 24% of vehicles in London’s morning rush hour, according to Transport for London (TfL) figures . The arresting statistic formed from a mass census of cyclists in London – apparently the biggest of its kind to date – is adding weight to campaigners’ and cycling proponents’ arguments that the bicycle is no longer the transport of the minority, and that we need to take the bicycle seriously as a means of mass transport.The numbers on some headline routes are perhaps not surprising to anyone who has squashed in with scores of cyclists at the traffic lights in London’s morning rush hour, though they do make previous cycling targets look shamefully unambitious. […]

London’s new cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, told the Guardian: “Cycling is clearly a mass mode of transport in central London and until now it hasn’t been treated as such. Nearly all provision for cycling is based on the presumption that hardly anyone cycles, that you can make do with shoving cyclists to the side of the road and that just clearly is wrong.” Since [London Mayor Boris] Johnson’s cycling vision was launched in March, there have been fears that the proposed £913m funding for cycling will suffer at the hands of George Osborne’s spending review, due tomorrow. Gilligan remains optimistic, however, and says although the money is a lot more than previously spent on cycling, it’s not a lot compared to TfL’s overall budget. As Sir Peter Hendy, TfL’s transport commissioner, noted at the cycling vision’s City Hall launch, we get more for our money from cycling infrastructure than for other mass transport systems. He wants to make cycling “one of his highest priorities”. As campaigners point out, urban cycling is still dominated by a minority. The next goal is surely to get everyone else on a bike.

The London Cycling Campaign’s chief executive, Dr Ashok Sinha, said: “The latest cycling figures from TfL simply underline that, given the right circumstances, a large proportion of London’s population would opt to cycle to work. “The ultimate goal must be to enable people of all ages and backgrounds to feel safe enough to cycle for everyday local journeys, not just commuters. The good news is that Boris Johnson gets this and understands that investing in cycling saves money in the long run. That’s why he must resolutely defend his impressive new cycling programme from impending Treasury cuts.” […]

>>> You can read the full article here.


2,012 Food Growing Spaces in London by the end of 2012? Done!

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on December 27th, 2012

Press Release from Capital Growth:

Capital Growth target

100,000 green-fingered Londoners deliver Mayor’s 2012 food growing target.

The estimated equivalent of 69 Wembley football pitches or 124 acres of disused land in London now brimming with fruit and veg.

The Mayor of London today [Dec 14] announced that the ambitious target to deliver 2012 Capital Growth spaces has been reached, following a four-year scheme to turn disused plots of land into community spaces abundant with fruit and veg. Nearly 100,000 green fingered Londoners have rolled up their sleeves to deliver this leafy Olympic legacy.

The Capital Growth scheme, run by London Food Link, was launched by the Mayor and Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food, in November 2008. It aimed to create 2,012 growing spaces in London by the end of 2012 with funding from the Mayor and the Big Lottery Fund’s Local Food programme.

The idea is to bring local neighbourhoods and communities together while giving Londoners a chance to grow their own food and green their local area. It is also a response to growing allotment waiting lists, particularly in inner London boroughs, which can be decades long. Capital Growth has worked with landowners and local groups to help identify land for growing and then help people get started in creating successful gardens by providing training and tools.

There are now Capital Growth spaces in every London borough. Food gardens signed up to the scheme have flourished in an extraordinarily diverse and creative range of places, covering an estimated 124 acres of previously disused land. Capital Growth spaces are now growing on roofs, in donated recycling boxes, in skips, alongside canals and in builders’ bags providing healthy food to a range of places including shops and restaurants. The spaces have supported skills and enterprise training, market gardening initiatives and even the development of 50 community bee hives.

Some of the Capital Growth spaces have now scaled up into social enterprises selling produce into cafes, restaurants and market stalls and providing jobs for local people. Other projects that the campaign has supported include larger farms, such as Organic Lea in Waltham Forest that employs 13 full and part time staff doing market gardening under glass houses leased from the local authority. The biggest response to the Capital Growth challenge has come from schools with 687 schools signed up involving 66,000 pupils.

The 2012th space was today announced by the Mayor as St Charles Centre for health and wellbeing in North Kensington. The project, based in a disused courtyard of a hospital, will engage a range of community groups, including youth groups and Age UK, as well as hospital staff to grow their own healthier food.

>> Read more about the projects at Capital Growth.


Urban Food Week: London

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on September 13th, 2012

Source: SustainWeb


Urban Food Week is a celebration of the fantastic food being produced by community projects in London.

The week is a collaboration between restaurant network Ethical Eats; Capital Growth – the campaign to create 2012 new food-growing spaces by 2012; and Capital Bee, which promotes community beekeeping in London, and is to highlight the importance of buying and eating local food, urban growing and planting forage for bees.

During the week, restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs across the city will be showcasing dishes and drinks made with ultra-local fruit, veg and herbs from urban farms, and from London honey cultivated in community beehives.

Diners who submit a picture of their Urban Food Week dish or drink will be entered into a draw to win a one-day urban foraging course.

Urban Food Week
10-16 September

Go to the Ethical Eats site to find out more.


Goat Races & Urban farming in London

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 27th, 2012

Source: polis blog via Sustainable Cities Collective


Photo by Manic Street Preacher via flickr CC

From “The Changing Face of Urban Farming in London” by Idroma Montgomery:

Recently I’ve noticed that London embraces urban farming in a way I haven’t seen in other cities. Last month, I attended the Oxford-Cambridge Goat Race at Spitalfields City Farm in East London, a popular annual event that raises money for the farm. It is housed on a side street off the trendy and boisterous Brick Lane, and like many other city farms in London, offers a study in how to effectively utilize small amounts of urban space.

Spitalfields City Farm resides alongside a small park and a residential area, including council flats and primary schools. The sound of the Overground is ever present as trains rush past, visible behind the small playground and vegetable patches. The farm contains a small menagerie of rare breeds, a weekend community market, a greenhouse and small plots for non-professional gardening. It is a farm that is connected to its community and surroundings. Throughout the week, people can easily buy a range of eggs, plants and compost, as well as other locally made goods. Most of the other urban farms in the area follow a similar template, acting as hubs of community activity and knowledge exchange across central and greater London.

The presence of Spitalfields and other farms not only demonstrates ways in which Londoners are attempting to remain connected to how food is sourced and produced (as evidenced by the rise of boutique markets such as Borough and Brixton), but also serves as a means to maintain a multicultural identity and re-establish communal urbanism in a city that increasingly isolates its citizens. Most farms were built in the 1970s and 1980s by local community groups to provide community space and help people provide for themselves and take responsibility for their area. Built amongst rubble on unused land, these farms were the physical manifestations of people attempting to resist the destruction of their neighborhoods — a symbol of activism. Communities were able to reclaim neglected spaces and create stable alternative environments that subverted expected ideas of what these neighborhoods needed and wanted. Most continue to be run by community committees and volunteers and require donations and council funding in order to survive. Their continued existence underscores the fact that they remain significant to their areas.

Many London farms are located near deprived or marginalized areas. The Spitalfields farm —located in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets — has targeted events at local residents to help them learn how to grow fruits and vegetables (including Asian vegetables, in a nod to the large local Asian population) and cook using seasonal produce. Through these activities, marginalized and under-represented families are able to contribute to farm activities, learn about food production and care, and reconnect the relationship between the food that they eat and the animals that are cared for in the farm. It also allows them to think critically about the sustainability of food production, how and what they eat, and how such food practices affect their families and communities. These connections change the spatiality of neighbourhoods and how they are navigated, creating spaces of interaction and production between residents and the land, as well as among residents.

[…]

Read the full article by Idroma Montgomery.


Contested Streets: Breaking NY City Gridlock

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on July 20th, 2011

Source: Streetfilms via Going Solar

From “Contested Streets: Breaking New York City Gridlock” by Clarence Eckerson, Jr:

Produced in 2006 as part of the New York City Streets Renaissance Campaign, Contested Streets explores the history and culture of New York City streets from pre-automobile times to present. This examination allows for an understanding of how the city — though the most well served by mass transit in the United States — has slowly relinquished what was a rich, multi-dimensional conception of the street as a public space to a mindset that prioritizes the rapid movement of cars and trucks over all other functions.

Central to the story is a comparison of New York to what is experienced in London, Paris and Copenhagen. Interviews and footage shot in these cities showcase how limiting automobile use is in recent years has improved air quality, minimized noise pollution and enriched commercial, recreational and community interaction. London’s congestion pricing scheme, Paris’ BRT and Copenhagen’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are all examined in depth.

New York City, though to many the most vibrant and dynamic city on Earth, still has lessons to learn from Old Europe.

Watch the film on Vimeo


Chromaroma: Public Transport Game for London

Posted in Models, Tools by Kate Archdeacon on May 26th, 2011

Via Springwise

Chromaroma is a game that shows you your movements and location as you swipe your Oyster Card in and out of the Tube (Bus, Tram and Boat coming soon). It connects communities of people who cross paths and routes on a regular basis, and encourages people to make new journeys and use public transport in a different way by exploring new areas and potentially using different modes of public transport.

At its simplest, Chromaroma is about amassing the most points possible. By watching your own travel details you can investigate interesting new ways to travel and exciting new destinations in order to get more points. Grab “multipliers” and bonus points by working with a team, building up connections with fellow passengers and discovering mysteries that are attached to locations on your routes.

Beyond competition and conquest, Chromaroma’s gameplay opens up the beauty in the city’s transport flows and reveals to its most persistent players some of the mysteries of travel, and even the strange characters travelling through the tunnels in the centre of the system, who may hold the secrets to your city.

http://www.chromaroma.com/


I don’t totally understand this game, but mixing up social networking with real-time information and alternative transport use is something we’re pretty interested in at VEIL.  Check out Chromaroma on Vimeo to find out (a little) more. KA


Greening My Office Blog: First Success!

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 21st, 2010

Source: Greening My Office via The Ecologist


Image: petrr via flickr CC

From I got them to switch the heating off! by Sylvia Sunshine:

My office is over 70 square foot in size, but only half of the space is ever being used at one time. The other half lies empty.  The organisation that pays my wage rents a large office space and sublets out to two other companies. However, my company has been unable to sublet the remaining space on the floor.  According to research by the property agent NB Real Estate, there is now over 10 million square foot of office space lying empty in London alone, up from 7.8 million in 2008. The capital has been left with over 10 per cent of its offices empty, with the situation at its most drastic in the West End (where I’m based).  And of course, with this waste comes the predictable onslaught of environmental damage.

Because there are so few people in the space I’m in, it takes more energy to heat, in both real and relative terms. Furthermore, in the empty office adjacent to my office, we heat the entire space day and night, even though it lies vacant (and has done for nearly a year).

The next morning I approach the company head honcho about the empty space in our office.  ‘No one wants to buy at the moment,’ he says. ‘We’ve tried to lower to price too, but nothing seems to work’.

‘Can we switch off the heating in there?’ I murmur, head hanging low over a bowl of organic museli.  My boss looks at me carefully. I can see the cogs turning as he remembers previous conversations. As time stands still I think he’s about to upbraid me for being too much of a goody (non-leather) two shoes. But instead of attacking me – as has become par for the course – he glances over to Jill and squawks: ‘Can we get building services to switch off the heating in the other offices? Rooms 2a and 2b? They’re not being used at the moment, are they?’

‘Sure,’ Jill shouts back across the empty office, ‘I’ll email the landlord now’.

‘Wow,’ I think. No qualms, no questions and no awkward silences. Just action. Maybe my technique is improving? Or maybe some kind of sea change is underway?

Read more about Sylvia Sunshine’s efforts.


An Urban Dream Farm for London?

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on May 14th, 2009

The first community project in the metropolis to recycle food wastes into energy and fertilizer by anaerobic digestion Sam Burcher.

The organic muesli producer who keeps making history.

Alex Smith has been made a London Leader of Sustainability for 2009 by the London Development Agency (LDA). This appointment by the Mayor of London’s office is a far cry from thirty years ago when Alex was a squatter and started his food company Alara with two £1 notes he found in the street. Alara now produces up to one hundred tonnes of organic muesli each week, some sixty percent of UK’s total muesli production.

Read the rest of this entry »