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Eric O

Great observation. This attitude seems to travel without question with Americans, so sensitized are we to the environmental cues of poverty. I sometimes get the impression that the planning issues people I talk to, would they ever be startled to find themselves in the presence of one, would actually flee from a bus. I can literally read it on their faces when (in my more naive moments with folks I discern mistakenly to be more experimentally minded) trying to sell them on the idea of inducing TOD with bus transfers. "Think about it," I goad, "there's the design opportunity for TOD: create the high-grade pedestrian environment needed for attractive connections which make the car people rue the fact that they are stuck with no place to park. Right there, right on the road!" I thereon try to hype the elegance of a high frequency network only to find my polite and well meaning compatriots still blinking at the thought that I'm mentioning buses. As if I couldn't actually be serious!

Your suggestion to shift the focus on the spectrum of choices and the incremental gains of utility is probably a better tact but still a hard sell. I think it helps to point to analogies. Twitter is actually a great example. There are the people who immediately get twitter as a cultural art, there are the people who dip in sporadically, mainly for amusement, there are the people who discover the incredible potential and even beauty of utility incrementally, there are those who just lurk for god knows what reason, and there are those who will never get twitter no matter how well you try to package it to them. The trick is to focus on improving the experience of the adaptable middle kinds, who draw on and contribute to the momentum of the experience for everyone.


Boy you sure get around.


Not only does Al Ain - and by extension the Emirate of Abu Dhabi - seem to understand the importance of developing a quality public transport system, but they have put a lot of effort into developing very robust long range comprehensive plans. When I look through the various planning documents for Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 from the Urban Planning Council (upc.gov.ae), I am struck by how thorough, well-thought-out and exemplary the emirate's planning vision is. I think - but I don't know for sure - that Abu Dhabi developed the UPC as a reaction to what it saw in Dubai and to ensure it avoided becoming another sprawling, auto-centric emirate.

Abu Dhabi is clearly thinking about its future and the long-term livability of its residents (both urban and rural). I hope this vision comes to reality, and I look forward to when I visit the UAE again to experience the results of these plans. I also hope Dubai and other governments in the region will keep an eye on Abu Dhabi's planning process to learn a few lessons about how to appropriately plan for a growing, modern desert city.

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