only search

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

How to travel lightly is the concern of many of our contributors.

openDemocracy's new debate on the politics of climate change is running now. Join it.

The joy of single-engine flying

Antony Woodward’s aerial adventures are a source of discomfort, tiredness, and risk – but the freedom, spiritual release and learning they offer are incomparable.

Why Fly?

The author wonders the skies in pursuit of the goal of maximising journeys per mile, not miles per hour

Skating and the city

From the skateboard, you feel differently about the city – and come closer to who you really are.

The peach wins! Why I like my bike

Fast, healthy, exciting, convenient, stylish… and the bike is pretty good as well. openDemocracy’s globalisation editor on the only way to go.

Motorway culture and its discontents

The sheer ugliness and anonymity of motorways seem only to reinforce their destructive environmental impact. Yet even motorways have their poets and celebrants. But what are they doing to our soul?

The war against the car

The love affair between the city and cars is an illusion of the age. In fact, they are at war: an elephant and an army of ants. Cars rescue people from cities, offering a way of escape from urban concentration – to the freedom of low-density living.

Reclaiming cities for citizens

In a vigorous response to Martin Pawley, the Amsterdam-based editor of the ‘Carfree Cities’ project argues that people can thrive in a dense urban fabric – but only if the tyranny of the motor car is lifted.

Transport for the future: the view from the railway industry

Brainstorming about how Britain can best develop its railways has been a national sport in the country for longer than football, and those outside the industry can be as partisan as football fans. But how does it look from the inside track? The director of the industry-wide Railway Forum responds to Stephen Plowden’s article in openDemocracy.

Railways in the Czech landscape - ecological relic of the 21st century?

The survival of an extensive railway network in the Czech lands was ensured under communism by the state’s preference for public over private transport. But can local lines survive the financial disciplines and free voices of a new economy? A former deputy minister of transport, torn between nostalgia and realism, argues that the railways’ future should be decided by respecting the ways that people want to travel.

Charting a future for the railways

The years of investment starvation on Britain’s railways are ending. But will the simplistic billion-pound cure for a network in decline prove as damaging as the disease? A leading transport specialist argues that regulating and pricing the roads, rather than subsidising the railways, is the best way to move towards an improved transport system.

The tracks of our years

What is the origin of the seemingly permanent crisis of Britain’s railways? A key source of understanding is the experience of the signalmen and station staff who made the system work in the days of state control. The story of the Great Western Railway contains the best and worst of the tale.

Journeys to the Rhine

European rail travel (unlike British) is getting faster. This veteran Euro-commuter isn’t sure that he approves.

From walking to railways

The railways are in seemingly inexorable decline in the country that invented them. As the debate on Ecology & Place moves from walking to rail travel, the co-editors see an intrinsic connection between revivifying rail travel and repairing society. But can either withstand the relentless spread of the motor vehicle?

Radical Walking

In a country obsessed with property and passion, the mere act of walking has often been seen as a political challenge. Yet English history is full of characters who have pushed against the boundaries to reclaim the empire underneath their feet.

A letter from the future

Restless movement was to be an instrument of freedom and social advance. In an email to, a critic of “hypermobility” argues the opposite: travelling more and further, we know and understand less.

Advertisements for my feet

Before the Great War, the author’s grandfather mapped the route from the Welsh mountains to industrial Salford. More than thirty years later, his own escape from the mean streets of post-war Manchester to the Pennine hills begins the process of walking into that past experience and its still relevant truths.

On street safari

A mother who takes her small children around their north London streets to walk, shop, play, smell, imagine and interact describes their endlessly various explorations. In an environment dominated by cars and speed, does this represent a different way not just of moving, but of being?

How you travel is who you are

‘Transport’, before it is policy or statistics, is the experience of movement; and the ways we move imply different patterns of living and being. The Ecology & Place co-editor opens our transport debate by reaffirming this truth, and looking freshly at the most elemental form of movement: walking.

After planning: movement within settlement

The debate on planning, just concluded, has underlined the importance of aesthetic considerations; the forthcoming debate on transport will similarly broaden the topic by viewing it in the light of culture, history, and people’s everyday experience.

The life and death of Railtrack

The British government has dismayed private investors by seizing control of the company set up in 1996 to own Britain’s railway tracks and property. Can the proposed hybrid model of a non-profit making private company open up a genuine ‘third way’ beyond state control and the market?
Syndicate content