I recently interviewed Patrick Reynolds and Matt Lowrie who are two of the bloggers on the Greater Auckland blog in New Zealand’s largest city. It was a wide ranging conversation which will eventually become two Reinventing Transport episodes and one Reinventing Parking episode.
Auckland is a striking example of a rather car dependent city that has actually been changing some of its key trends and taking some remarkable steps towards becoming a different kind of city in which other transport options are steadily improving. This story will be the focus of anther episode.
Today's episode focuses on the Greater Auckland blog itself and its role in Auckland’s transport (and planning) policy conversations and debates.
Greater Auckland is an influential example of a transport policy (and planning) focused blog/site with an advocacy mission. It is akin to sites like the Streetsblogs and Greater Greater Washington.
Greater Auckland has been amazingly effective and influential and there are lessons for transport activists anywhere.
HERE ARE SOME HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE CONVERSATION.
I am a slow moving creature at the moment due to illness, so I will keep this short.
- Interesting local circumstances in Auckland meant it filled an important gap.
- Cooperation with advocacy group allies, Bicycle Auckland and climate-focused youth organization Generation Zero, is important.
- Patrick and Matt offered generous advice for aspiring advocacy bloggers everywhere.
- Distilling the key things from already-public information and presenting them in an accessible form (both readable and with clear visuals) is extremely valuable.
- GA's success has taken a lot of work but it is entirely voluntary. A slowly-changing team of passionately engaged volunteer writers keeps up their pace of one post every day.
- Many of GA's writers are self-taught. Yet they have been key players through through diligence and their passionate interest in the issues and in their city.
- Transport agency insiders are big consumers of GA's output!
- There is also a surprisingly large public audience for GA's output, despite how wonkish it is.
- GA's sober, data-driven, evidence-based, non-partisan and positive tone is the opposite of click bait. But it is the right tone for influence. This includes not responding to personal attacks and sticking to the issues, arguments and evidence.
And of course, check out and explore the Greater Auckland site itself!
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