Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Heads-up on Two Talks: Autoist History Walking Tour and TEDx Presentation on Multi-Modalism

Announcements about two talks just came across the wires today, and they both look pretty great.

Autoists Attack

Coinciding with the Sunday Streets event, on Sunday, September 8th at 2:00 p.m., the "Autoists Attack" walking tour
explores life in a walkable downtown that was destroyed by the fatal attraction to the automobile...[The] walking tour will visit sites important to pre-auto travel, explaining the transformation of mobility in downtown Salem and the influence of cars on life, commerce and culture as the skyline was changed forever. Stories about travel will include Native American potlatch ceremonies, demise of the steamboat, expansion of rail and streetcars and the replacement of three landmarks to accommodate the automobile; the first Legislative Assembly Hall, Fashion Stables and the 1895 City Hall.
The walking tour starts at the Carousel and will go around to some of our great parking lots.  Organized by the same folks who did the creative pub crawls, it's free and it sounds very interesting!  (Not to mention that it's great to see more people using the word "autoist"!)

TEDx Salem

Also, you may remember Jeffrey Tumlin's talk on walkable cities back in April.

This fall, the folks behind January's "Before I Die" wall in Riverfront Park are organizing an independent TED conference for November 16th at the Grand Theater.

They just announced the full speaker list, and it looks like a colleague of Tumlin's at Nelson Nygaard, headquartered in San Francisco (and recently named a Silver Bike-Friendly Business), Stephanie Wright, will be talking about multi-modal planning.

I'm working on getting more information about the talk, but it's really exciting to see this kind of thing at a conference that's really not at all about transportation or planning. (Presumably, the words "multi-modal" will be banished from the talk!)

Momentum behind the Bike and Walk Salem Plan has stalled somewhat, and it is possible that getting presumably sympathetic ideas out to new people could provide a boost.

It's also possible that conference attendees who don't already have their heads in biking and walking issues will have novel perspectives that could really enrich the civic conversation around land use and transportation in Salem.

Stay tuned for more details!

Updated with silly graph

Frequency of "autoist" and "wheelman" between 1879 and 2008
via google ngram
The word "autoist" seems have peaked between 1910 and 1920. The word "motorist" was preferred, however, and obviously by mid-century had totally prevailed over autoist.  Here's a comparison of motorist and autoist, which doesn't make a very interesting graph.


Jim Scheppke said...

So who is leading the "Autoists Attack" tour SBOB? Looks great!

Curt said...

"Autoist" is pretty good but I still think "autoholic" is better. The overuse and abuse of autos is more of an unconscious compulsion than a hobby. Those suffering from the illness don't consciously wish for the slow and painful destruction of the natural and built environments. They don't see themselves as actively promoting our culture of obesity, depression and car crashes. They are just as blind to consequences of their behavior as other addicts that inflict physical, emotional, and financial pain on their homes, surroundings and loved ones as a result of their illness.

Bridge revolt inspires parking rights movement! #salemia

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Ha ha! (Perhaps this is taking things too seriously here...but "autoist" has seemed wonderful because it is a revival of a word that seemed to be in pretty common use for a while a century ago, so it's not a neologism. Autoism also suggests a social-wide prevailing philosophy, worldview, or paradigm, and focuses on our planning and infrastructure and not simply on individual choice. Autoholic might not give sufficient weight to the total systemic bias in favor of drive-alone travel. I think the US has many autoist planners and decision makers who aren't themselves probably autoholics. And most people chose autoism because they live in autoist communities that give them little rational choice about being an autoist. Autoholism suggests personal blame where people are just making rational choices in the world and community they inherited. So that's why I prefer autoism and would like to see it revived!)

Stephanie Wright works out of a Portland Office of Nelson Nygaard, and her exact topic has not been settled.

I don't know exactly who is leading the Autoists Attack tour, but will try to find out!

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

updated with graph from google books of the frequency of autoist

B+ said...

I like "autoist" because of its roots in history and because it well describes the near-religious fanaticism of the automobile in America (and Salem, in particular). To me, it confirms the premise that humans are "worshipping animals," and will always find something to venerate.

In any event, I am very much hoping to attend this walk. Thanks for the information!