In the Parisian news today, it was announced that a “fleet of blue, eco-friendly electric cars will hit the streets of the French capital next autumn and cost no more than a tube fare to zip around town.” I was skeptical when I first read this, it was too good to be true and to come from the private sector.
Certainly, “Bertrand Delanoë, the city’s Socialist mayor hopes Autolib will be as popular as Vélib, the hit bike rental scheme he introduced in 2007 and which has been adopted by cities around the world including London. [The] town hall had selected a four-seat vehicle made by the French company Bolloré, whose industrialist owner famously lent his mega-yacht to President Nicolas Sarkozy after his election.” “Hit bike rental” is generous, my boyfriend, a native Parisian (he works, I swear!), tells me that it has been plagued with many problems – most notably theft. (Suspiciously, they all gather at the bottom of large hills, too.)
The context of the article is key, “Paris’ mayor has declared war on privately-owned cars, building a network of bus and cycle lanes that are the bane of motorists.” I’ve also been told that they’re considering banning 4×4 cars in Paris. Conveniently for the mayor, his “eco-friendly” program will be considered “acceptable.”
I’m certain this plan is privy to a plethora of problems. Something that I do believe has a bright future for changing cities in 2011, though, is a service called “Agent Anything.” I wrote about it’s predecessor this past summer, which creates a network for hiring people to run tasks and errands for a fixed, negotiated price. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t a mayor’s personal initiative to manufacture the way citizens live.