On our way to Nairobi

1ronald ngala steet

Heading towards Nairobi for the International Conference Urban Health (ICUH). The conference started yesterday with a key note address from , former mayor of Bogotá, Columbia, Enrique Peñalosa.

I read an online a report from the Daily National by Steven Bull entitled: “Man who transformed Bogota’s infrastructure gives tips to Nairobi planners.”

The main point of Mr. Peñalosa’s key note address was that transportation planning can address inequalities in civil society, which will have an impact on crime. Creating better infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclist has a powerful effect on the reducing of crime and addressing social inequalities in civil society. Peñalosa is quoted as saying: “Up to 95 per cent of people in under-developed cities do not drive to work, and almost as many don’t even own a vehicle, so why are we so focused on expanding roads for this elite five per cent? That’s not democracy,”

The main point being by spending on roads for cars which only serve the very rich of most developing countries is direction in spending priorities and allocation of national resources.

Mr. Peñalosa was mayor for only three years and the was a huge change in the transportation infrastructure and a significant change in the crime rate.

Daily National Story

Rats, sounds like it was a real inspiring talk. I heard Gill Peñalosa, Enrique’s brother and also Commissioner of Transportatin when he was Mayor, give a talk at Vancouver City Hall before the report on lane allocation on Burrard Bridge which was stunning in its impact. All the bike advocates on our side of the gallery were falling out of seats with amazement.

We are hanging out in Schipol at the moment waiting to board our flight. No free wifi here so I will have to wait till we arrive in Nairobi to post the story. It is a ten hour flight and even after two days in Amsterdam I still on Vancouver time.

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