title: good garden guide

#one: you, me, us & them


What is to be done depends on what you are capable of doing. This depends on your leverage on the cables of power. What you can do depends on who you are. Who you are in part depends on your structural position in society.

You might be a member of the Association of Town Centre Managers, of the Institute of Civil Engineers, a transport planner, a cabinet minister, an owner of a motorcar.


Well to show how it works, I have to do one for myself. Given I'm writing all this, then one of the mes is I write about information and society. But I find writing alone insufficient, I have to try to build the social structures where what I write about can be brought into reality.
I teach in a university, so the students are a group I can possibly influence in their thinking by giving examples and case studies to work on. This presents me with a moral and ethical problem: by what right do I do this?

One consequence of my job is that I am a member of the British Computer Society (MBCS), the Society for Information Systems Engineering. From this I established the Transport Information Engineering Task Group, though interestingly almost no one in the BCS works in the transport industry at all, which given the importance of computers in managing transport ought to be rather worrying.

On the basis of my earlier training, I am an associate (ALA) of the Library Association and for a long time have been interested in the relation between information and the organisation of power in society. It was this that lead to involvement in Librarians for Social Change, then the setting up of the Information for Development Forum and through that I became interested particularly in the management of cities and the role of information systems design in how urban systems work. It is from that I became interested in the role of transport and then set up the Transport Information Planning Forum and through both became representative to the National Forum on Information Planning.

For no obvious reasons, I'm a member of the Consumers Association, the National Trust, Ramblers Association, Surrey Gardens Trust, Woodlands Trust and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.


One us then is Kingston University. KU will have to produce a green transport plan in order to get planning permission for developments, as well presumably, to obey the law?

Quite a while ago I started a walkers' forum and found a few people who were interested, but not enough energy level to get very far. The Trades Unions branches are too weak at the moment to be a forum.

Another us is the National Trust. It has a policy to support access to the countryside but also a policy of conservation. These two can come into contradiction. The resolution is to make more of public transport. They have better provision in the handbook of public transport information than any other organisation. The provide their data on the web and to other organisations such as the Great Britain bus timetable.

Their are sufficiently established that their properties are shown on OS maps very clearly and grid references are given in the handbook. This makes them easy to locate. Trying to work out where the public transport goes is more difficult.(see grass routes planning for all that).

What they don't do is a really simple example of interchange engineering, describe the best way of getting by public transport to their properties by walking. To rectify this, I've written these and put them into the greenandsmart.listbot.com web site if general, and nationaltrust.listbot.com if specific. As these lists go, I will have a new problem of information retrieval which allows me to think about one of my core competencies.

In contrast the Woodlands Trust is awful. It provides a directory of properties which it owns with OS grid references and nothing else. This is not for want of earbashing. They are going to be a longer haul, but clearly an us nevertheless.


One needs to be London Transport, the second RBKT, thirdly the goverment, and fourth SWT. These are written up in detail as examples, except for the government example.

This must be the hardest nut of all to crack. It has policies outlined in the White Paper, but what it does is a different matter altogether.

But some of the theys are deeply mysterious. Who decides where bus stops are placed so interchanging becomes as difficult as possible? It must be a conscious decision of a sentient human being or group of them? This is the every day story of politics, of the social construction of an engineered reality in order to make public transport dysfunctional.


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