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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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?

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.

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.

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.

Whose cells are they, anyway?

Scientific research using stem cells may prevent disease and save lives. But concerns over intellectual property rights and the use of human embryos may block its advance. Can science survive if it becomes privately owned?

Three pinches of salt

Bjorn Lomborg’s “The Sceptical Environmentalist” is guilty of the very faults he ascribes to the green movement: from exaggeration to selective quotation and uncertain logic. In taking pot shots at a caricature, he discredits his own case. Environmentalists have nothing to fear from serious criticism. This is not it.

Chemical warfare in the bathroom

The morning shave and hair wash was once so simple. But life for a man is getting harder… especially when you examine the shampoo bottle.

The business of genes

Mike Ashburner's article 'Privatising our genes' recounts how the race for the human genome raises questions about the forces of scientific advancement and their relationship with both governments and private companies: most urgently, whether patents can be extended into the human genome. Here are some openDemocracy readers' reactions to the story.

Privatising our genes?

Money and power, as well as the passion for knowledge, drove the race to map the human genome. One of the world’s leading geneticists sees lessons for the public realm beyond the laboratory.
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