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Gabe Klein: Talks Start-Up City

A good interview from Streetfilms with Gabe Klein who is a former transport commissioner from Washington DC and Chicago about his new book “Start Up City”. The content will be familiar to those that heard Gabe talk at an Auckland Conversations event earlier this year alongside Jeff Tumlin.

Streets can be tough to change. Between institutional inertia, tight budgets, bureaucratic red tape, and the political risks of upsetting the status quo, even relatively simple improvements for walking, biking, or transit can take years to pull off — if they ever get implemented at all.

But a new generation of transportation officials have shown that it doesn’t have to be that way. Cities can actually “get shit done,” as former DC and Chicago transportation commissioner Gabe Klein puts it in his new book from Island Press,Start-Up City.

Streetfilms and our producer, Mark Gorton, recently got to sit down (and walk around) with Gabe to talk about the ideas in the book, which ties together his career as a transportation commissioner and his experience in start-ups like Zipcar. Start-Up City is filled with advice about how to get projects done quickly while choosing the best option for the public (and, of course, having fun). You can get a flavor for the book in this extensive interview with Gabe.

One of the things that strikes me from the video and that we’ve been hearing from numerous speakers over numerous years is the need for transport agencies to try things and not be afraid to fail. This includes things such as trialling new street designs using temporary materials and trying out technology to see what works best. It is something that we are yet to see AT do much of and I wonder what it will take to get them thinking this way.

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