Visionaries: Peter Lipman
1st April 2009
Peter Lipman thought small to go large.
Peter Lipman thought small to go large. Having built a first career as a lawyer, he joined UK sustainable transport charity Sustrans in 2001 but, by his own admission, was ‘more interested in what goes on outside your own front door’ than the national cycle network it was developing.
Instead, he began working on Home Zones, a Dutch-inspired plan to tear up and physically redesign suburban roads to encourage cars to slow down and more people out into the communal space between their houses. It was a great idea, Lipman thought, but too expensive, in terms of both financial cost and the energy consumed in all the building work.
‘I was worried that they [the Home Zones] weren’t going to be replicated,’ he says. ‘There are a hell of a lot of streets in Britain – I want to see all of them changed. We were trying to work out some idea where you can achieve the same, but on a viral basis.’
His answer was to scale down, and work with local communities themselves to develop low-cost ways of achieving the same goal: planting trees, altering pavements and painting roads – anything to slow down the cars. As a result, the road is reclaimed for the local...
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