February 28, 2011

New York Commissioners travel to Joburg: We can remake cities using transport

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The Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA) hosted New York City Commissioners Janette Sadik-Khan and Amanda Burden last week in a seminar titled ‘New York to Joburg: Remaking Cities using Transport’ also featuring Rehana Moosajee, Member of the Mayoral Committee responsible for Transportation and Lisa Seftel, Executive Director of the Department of Transportation in the City of Johannesburg. The seminar discussion focused on the visions shown in Our Cities Ourselves, now on view at the JDA Bus Factory, and the transformational role of transportation in creating a sustainable, equitable and livable urban futures.

Cities throughout the world share common challenges of population growth, tight budgets and growing carbon emissions, with transportation and buildings responsible for around 75% of greenhouse gas emissions. New York City is rising to these challenges with a range of initiatives, and the seminar enabled two of New York’s most prominent Champions to share their experiences with leaders from one of South Africa’s pre-eminent cities. Upon riding Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya BRT, Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of New York’s Department of Transportation, said that the BRT clearly illustrated “the type of strategy that cities around the world need to follow”. Amanda Burden, Chairwoman of the New York City Planning Commission, also commented on how New York hoped to “start development on a BRT that could be modeled on Rea Vaya” and the experience in Johannesburg.  The resulting exchange of ideas and best practice between New York City leaders and Joberg leaders encouraged innovation as these cities continue to seek ways to thrive.

ITDP’s urban visioning exhibition, Our Cities Ourselves, which shows visions of ten of the world’s most fascinating cities – including Johannesburg and New York – from ten of the world’s leading architects, is on view in Johannesburg until March 18, 2011 and then in Cape Town until mid-April.

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