Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Steampunk, Retrofuture, and Transport

Looking to the past for problems of the present seems a sensible way to work to me. With problems of over-crowding, pollution, global warming, disease and illness to name but a few of our current woes, increasingly, scientists and policy-makers seek inspiration from the past, and past visions of the future.

Updated windmills may provide energy, sustainable woodland may provide fuel, companion planting of crops may remove the need for pesticides and increase yields, as well as increasing wildlife, and airships are making a comeback, whilst plans for an alternative to a new runway at Heathrow include a floating runway in the Thames estuary.

"The Future Isn't What it Used to Be" (originally published as "Changing Travel Demand: Implications for Transport Planning", ITE Journal (Sept. 2005, Vol. 76, No.9, 27-33) by Todd Litmann, published by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute looks to the past for inspiration to solving the transport problems of the immediate future, drawing conclusions from the trends of the Twentieth Century for the issues of the Twenty-First.

An intruiging, practical-academic paper which raises some interesting questions...

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