Why Africa Streets is necessary

One billion needy people. Here is a map showing the locations of the last eighty readers who checked into World Streets this morning. It is typical of what we see day after day in this  collaborative international forum.  Hmm. Where is Africa on this map?

It would not be a big deal if either (a) the matters covered by W/S were only of interest and use to the countries that consult the site as you can see here, or if (b) the African continent were well covered by other and hopefully better sources of ideas, experience and counsel in the field of sustainable transport and sustainable cities. But in fact neither holds. So we interpret this as meaning that we need to bring together those who are closest to the problems, the opportunities and the decisions in countries across Africa — and to reach them not only in English (or Globish as it is sometimes called) but also in Arabic, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili, the main international languages of the continent which is after all where this all got started.

Get in touch and help us get this important collaborative source and toolset underway.

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About Author/Editor

Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is MD of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. His forthcoming book, “Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities”, is being presented, discussed and critiqued in a series of international conferences, master classes, workshops and media events over 2014. (More at http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7)
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5 Responses to Why Africa Streets is necessary

  1. Pingback: Why Africa Streets is necessary (via Africa Streets) | World Streets / Open Edition

  2. Nite Tanzarn says:

    I do agree that Africa Streets is necessary and can potentially be an important source of information. Why then are Africans not accessing and or using the site? I have said this before and I will repeat it again. is that few Africans have access to cheap and reliable Internet services. To many, visiting a website is a luxury they cannot afford.

    The other reason in form of a question is: “who are the users?” A few people search for information for the sake of it. The majority, however, do it out of necessity…the academics, researchers, consultants…and perhaps the map is a reflection of the representation of the different countries/ regions amongst transport researchers, consultants etc.

    Another reason which does not necessarily pertain to Africans is a poor reading culture…many people simply do now want to read. So how do we make reading attractive? Keep it short and simple, amongst others. And that is my cue to stop.

  3. The Editor says:

    Excellent Nite, as always and thanks for this good point. With Africa Streets we really need to be very careful to figure out exactly: (a) who do we wish to reach; (b) with what kinds of information or tools (e.e., networking) and (c) by what means? There is a target of people who have access to computers and reasonably high speed connections, and … See Morethey are important in Africa and, infact, substantially underserved when it comes to sustainable and fair mobility. But if we are not able to reach deeper and wider — and by what technologies, though mobile phones definitely come to mind — then we will surely not have the level of impact that is needed.

    So, we will keep thinking about this and inviting ideas, comments and articles as we move ahead. (Including right here.)

  4. The Editor says:

    Excellent Nite, as always and thanks for this good point. With Africa Streets we really need to be very careful to figure out exactly: (a) who do we wish to reach; (b) with what kinds of information or tools (e.e., networking) and (c) by what means? There is of course one valid target, those who have access to computers and reasonably high speed connections. They are important engines for change in Africa and, in fact, are substantially underserved when it comes to information and counsel on sustainable and fair mobility. But if we are not able to reach deeper and wider — and by what technologies, though mobile phones definitely come to mind — then we will surely not have the level of impact that is needed to make a difference.

    So, we will keep thinking about this and inviting ideas, comments and articles as we move ahead. It’s like football. It’s team work.

  5. Dr Joshua Odeleye says:

    The World Street messages are meant for a few informed African population.I meant academics, researchers in areas of Transportation and Sustainable development.These group of people domicile, as it were in other continents,in the Universities, Research institutes, Intergovermental agencies etc.Therefore it will not be right for Nite to say Africans are lazy in reading.

    My observation on this issue is that the World Street theme focuses more on developed countries cases, the discussion of which normally been dominated by people from developed countries.Most time these case studies rarely make references to the applicability of some of their findings to situation in developing countries.

    It is not that African are not on the mailing list of World Street ,but immediately they realised that the discussion will not be of any relevance to Africa, they offered not to participate.I wish to suggest continental peculiar transportation problems discourse henceforth and let see, if academics from Africa will not contribute accordingly.

    Eric, thanks for your great observations.

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