I had the pleasure of hosting a reception for Dr. John Stone, a lecturer in transportation at the Universities of Melbourne and Swinburne in Australia. He touched down here on his way back to Australia after six months of research in Munich – and we hope to bring him back.
I had first met John when he was working on his thesis – a comparative study of Melbourne with Vancouver and Perth – that resulted in this:
I believe it is one of the best analyses not just of Melbourne but of Vancouver’s transportation history as well. For those looking for the backstory that has led to our current situation, it is an excellent place to start – even if you just jump to the chapters on our city.
In Vancouver following the defeat of freeway proposals in the early 1970s, politicians and new professional appointees established a progressive planning policy network through decisive action. This network has maintained its influence through decades of conflict and is identified as the key factor in the relatively strong performance of transit in Greater Vancouver. It is based in institutions of local and regional government that exhibit some significant similarities and differences from those in Melbourne.
But it’s also an excellent exploration of the factors of change that explain differences in places otherwise so similar.
You can download the thesis here.