Being a business owner, I diary my holidays as I plan my year.
I discovered that if I didn’t, work would easily swamp my time.
Recently I traveled to Venice, Sicily, and then Nice. I am a photographer and gorgeous vignettes are abundant, yet it was the delightful and helpful everyday transactions with the people that made the stay memorable.
Several experiences stand out as signs of progress.
We have travelled in brand-new planes, trains and buses and landed in spacious cool terminals. The priority of investment in upgrading shared transport infrastructure is evident.
Cars are minimal or disallowed in city centres making them people centred where it is easy to interact socially with others.
The architectural and engineering magic of 7th – 14th Century buildings, open places and lanes have survived, and remain elegant and well-used.
Everyday services; garbage collection, food collection and distribution, and building upgrades remain personalized. In Venice, we noticed households are allowed one small bag of garbage collected each day from their front door. Drinking fountains with potable water are every few blocks. Buildings provide shade throughout the day and building materials are transported by hand drawn carts and nimble portable external lifts.
What was also evident was that smoking remains popular and plastic is widely used. Tourism is a main source of income for many towns and cities.
One downside of this is the lack of business opportunity for those not wanting to be in retail, hospitality, travel or related services. I think that some things which create strong vibrant cities are the same in New Zealand as in many parts of the world; employment opportunities particularly for young people, and refugees, business innovations, people friendly urban areas and inexpensive, reliable intra and intercity travel.
How do we ensure our cities have vibrant attractive futures?
Alitalia magazine included plans for Milan’s future; reducing traffic flow to single lanes in central Milan, introduction of 4m wide paths for scooters, electric bikes and pedestrians, 40% of parking will be dedicated to electric cars, parking lots will facilitate deliveries to shops, smart lighting and signage systems, and green areas and piazzas that become pedestrian areas in specific hours and days of the week. The two main drivers are people reclaiming the city, and shared transport spaces.
What plans does your business include to remain responsive and relevant to the future? What strategic priority shifts are you choosing?
Diana Jones ©