David Engwicht is an Australian social innovator and a significant international leader of efforts to reduce the negative impacts of the private car on our cities and towns. He is considered the fathers of traffic calming and is the inventor of the walking bus, Street reclamation, and the Universal Anchoring Device. He is the author of several books including three broadly available ones; Reclaiming our Cities and Towns: better living through less traffic (1993), Street Reclaiming: creating liveable streets and vibrant communities (1999), and Mental Speed Bumps: the smarter way to tame traffic (2005).
On Monday 24th May 2010, on a gloriously sunny day in Galway, David gave a very interesting and though-provoking presentation at the City museum, as a guest of the Galway Transportation Unit and as part of the county's Smarter Travel Area bid. He challenged the audience to question their own personal travel behaviours and to view our traffic problems not merely as issues for engineers to fix but as a general social concern of design and how we envision our shared futures. Designing for the car does not have to be the centre of our mobilities universe and if we visualise urban movement without the automobile what would this be like? Walking and cycling may be slower but also more rewarding in terms of stimulation and social interactions. So, what do we want our cities to be, he inquired, a space for cars to get from A to B travelling at speed or a centre for fulfilling our shared human experience? The uncomfortable answer may very well be in our urban design and development and our current preoccupation with building more roads in, around, and through cities may not bode well for the future of alternatives to car travel.
A podcast of his talk is available by clicking HERE thanks to the freesource website Internet Archive, an non-profit organisation set up to build an Internet library.