Archive for the ‘Politix’ Category

Noch eine kleine Wahlhilfe

Freitag, Oktober 8th, 2010

Falls noch jemand nicht so recht weiß, wen er/sie wählen am Sonntag soll, hier noch zwei kleine Wahlhilfen. Die IG-Fahrrad (Interessensgemeinschaft Fahrrad) hat allen Parteien einige Fragen zum Radverkehr in Wien gestellt und diese auf ihrem Blog zusammengefasst. Natürlich sind auch alle Antworten im Original verfügbar.

Auch die FSFE (Free Software Foundation Europe) hat den Parteien einige Fragen zum Thema Open Source und offene Standards gestellt. Die Zusammenfassung und die Antworten im Original sind auf ihrer Homepage verfügbar.

Gut Wahl!

Radweg entlang des Naschmarktes

Mittwoch, September 1st, 2010

Ich hab gerade entdeckt, dass die Mariahilfer Grünen eine Petition zum Lückenschluß des Wiental-Radweges im Bereich des Naschmarktes aufgelegt haben. Der Wiental-Radweg ist zwar als gesamtes recht nervig, da er mit möglichst geringen Platzverbrauch entlang der Wien hingequetscht wurde und man deshalb ständig mit engen Kurven, unübersichtlichen Straßenquerungen und anderen Unannehmlichkeiten konfrontiert wird. Aber das alles ist scheinbar noch genug, bei der Kettenbrückengasse ist es dann ganz aus und man darf entweder auf die Gumpendorferstraße oder die Margaretenstraße/Operngasse ausweichen um in die Innenstadt zu gelangen. Oder man traut es sich, der „Autobahn“ der rechten Wienzeile zu folgen.

Ich hab selber schon mal beim Magistrat nachgefragt, ob nicht ein Lückenschluß beim Naschmarkt geplant ist, mir wurde aber ausweichend geantwortet, dass noch keine Lösung für die verlorengehenden Parkplätze gefunden wurde. Nun, meiner Meinung nach sind fahrende Räder besser als stehende Autos. Gegenmeinungen? Ich würde mich in den Kommentaren über eine Diskussion freuen.

Wie auch immer, ich möchte Euch hiermit aufrufen, Euch an der Petition zu beteiligen und Eure Namen dafür herzugeben.

OpenStreetMap Mashups & Open Data

Dienstag, August 31st, 2010

Ich wurde eingeladen einen Vortrag zu „OpenStreetMap Mashups & Open Data“  auf einem Meetup der Vienna Semantic Web Gruppe zu halten. Der Vortrag ist heute abend in Graz. Die Folien sind bereits (fast) fertig:

http://prezi.com/cpjkflxqcoou/openstreetmap-mash-ups-open-data/

Hier übrigens ein Video von meinem Vortrag: http://vimeo.com/14612713

The Zeitgeist movement

Dienstag, Januar 19th, 2010

A couple of days ago somebody gave me a DVD with the movie „Zeitgeist„, which is distributed freely over the internet and by DVD (if you like it you can burn a copy, make a special cover out of a A4 sheet of paper, and distribute it). I was quite curious about this movie, as it is about Change in our world.

Actually it was quite interesting, most of it questions our economic system based on monetary values, which – according to the movie – is one of the main reasons for inequalities on Earth, as one of its basics is debt and scarcity. Which is true in many ways, in the last century poverty and hunger massively increased and state debts multiplied, although progress developed many new inventions which might obsolete poverty, famines and diseases. It’s true, the „western world“ exploits their inhabitants and the poorer regions of Earth.

A big part of the movie are world conspiracies, performed by the U.S.A., who are accused of assaulting leaders of developing countries to keep up their influence and fight against democratization of their countries. This is something where I don’t know what to think, I can’t believe that a nation can do this without noticing and being held responsible for this. On the other hand it sounds pretty reasonable, e.g. it’s a matter of fact, that (at least some) of the last wars (e.g. Iraque) have been fought due to economic reasons. Without 9/11 this war might not have been possible. 9/11 also helped to implement surveillance laws (to oppress its inhabitants, living in permanent fear). Another example is the U.S. ignorance of global climate change.

The last part of the movie was rather disappointing to me, it’s about the Venus Project (the makers of the movie as it turns out). I’ve read about this project before and I regard it as immature (not to say bullshit). The Venus Project develops ideas for a society based on a „resource based economy“. Technical progress should enable us to live without any inequalities, totally based on renewable energies and so on (that’s the good part). But it sounds like an Utopia from the 1950s-1970s, with all those huge buildings and transportation systems in tubes and everybody has their own car (which runs on renewables, with a lot of security measures, and so on). Sorry. But that’s too late, those Utopias are stories from the past.

My biggest concern: Who manages the resources?  There’s a long page about their mighty resource based economy, but no explanation about its function. Even if an economy is not based on monetary values, somebody has to distribute those resources. How do I get food, a new computer or a car? They will never „fall from the sky“. Somebody has to produce it. Even if it is produced by machines, somebody has to build those machines. Will somebody (a person, company, organization or entity) will create it, „just because it feels right“? Somebody has to decide what should be build. Somebody has to decide where to build something.

This „who“ doesn’t have to be a single person. It can be a community. It could be an elite, but who decides who is that elite? It could be a democracy, but there are many kinds of democracies and most of them don’t produce equalities. I’m sure, we do need a new social system. Fast. Urgent. But the movie „Zeitgeist“ and the Venus Project don’t answer this question.

Have you seen this movie? What do you think about it? Ideas for a new social system?

Europas Universitäten brennen!

Sonntag, November 29th, 2009

Ich wurde von den Grünen in meinem Bezirk, Rudolfsheim-Fünfhaus, gebeten, einen Artikel über die aktuell besetzten Universitäten für den Schmelztiegel, deren regelmäßige Zeitung, zu schreiben:

Seit Wochen sind viele Hörsäle an Universitäten in Österreich und ganz Europa besetzt.

#unibrenntEs begann an der Akademie der bildenden Künste, an der die Einführung von Studiengängen nach dem Bologna-System kurz bevor steht, eine Folge des im Sommer novellierten Universitätsgesetzes. Eine Änderung, die weder bei Lehrenden noch Studierenden auf Gegenliebe stößt, gilt der Bachelorabschluß doch als minderwertig. Jedenfalls wurde im Anschluß an diese Pressekonferenz beschlossen, aus Protest die Aula zu besetzen.

Zwei Tage später fand im Votivpark eine Solidaritätskundgebung statt, in deren Anschluß relativ ungeplant das Audimax (der größte Hörsaal) besetzt wurde. Ungewöhnlich war, dass sich auf einmal eine große Menge von Menschen anschloss, der Hörsaal barst an den ersten Abenden aus allen Nähten. Erfahren von der Besetzung hatten die meisten Menschen über Mundpropaganda und über die neuen Medien, vor allem Twitter und Facebook. Die gewählte Vertretung der Studierenden, die Österreichische HochschülerInnenschaft, sah fassungslos zu, wie sich die Studierenden auf einmal selbst organisierten und klarmachten, dass sie eine Einmischung gar nicht wünschen.

In den folgenden Tagen breitete sich der Protest auf ganz Österreich aus, so wurden Hörsäle in den meisten Universitätsstädten besetzt. Nach zwei Wochen begann sich der Protest auf Deutschland auszubreiten, derzeit (Ende November 2009) sind über 80 Hörsäle oder andere Räumlichkeiten von Universitäten in ganz Europa besetzt. Ein Ende ist derzeit nicht absehbar.

Leider ist auf den Besetzungen nicht alles eitel Wonne, sind diese doch auch nur ein Abbild unserer Gesellschaft. Kritisiert wird unter anderem der latente Sexismus, der z.B. in Redebeiträgen deutlich wird, es kam sogar zu sexuellen Übergriffen auf schlafende Besetzerinnen. Auch wenn die BesetzerInnen versuchen, die Hörsäle möglichst zu schonen, kommt es immer wieder zu Verschmutzungen und Vandalismus. Natürlich werden vor allem die Wände mit politischen Plakaten und Transparenten zugepflastert.

Interessant ist dafür die Organisationsstruktur: Es wurden diverse Arbeitsgruppen geschaffen, die spezifisch an bestimmten Themen arbeiten, z.B. an den Forderungen, an der Organisation, Pressearbeit oder Verpflegung. Jeden Tag werden interessante Personen zu Vorträgen und Diskussionsrunden eingeladen. Sehr wichtig ist die Vernetzung über das Internet, so werden über Twitter Aufrufe nach Verpflegung und Spenden ausgesandt, die Plena und Vorträge werden mittels Livestream ins Internet übertragen. Damit sind die Besetzungen sehr transparent, was für positives Echo in der Bevölkerung sorgt.

Grund für die Besetzungen sind die untragbaren Bedingungen im Bildungssystem. Das europäische Bologna-System hat zwar zu einem Zuwachs an Studierenden geführt, allerdings sind die Universitäten seit den Sparpaketen in den 1990er Jahren massiv unterfinanziert. Es wird versucht, die Engpässe an den Universitäten durch Zugangsbeschränkungen und unfaire Knock-Out-Prüfungen zu lösen, welche aber zu Konkurrenzsituationen zwischen Studierenden führen und daher abgelehnt werden. Die BesetzerInnen sehen, dass Bildung eine wichtige Ressource für die Gesellschaft der Zukunft ist, diese ihnen aber von der Politik verwehrt wird und das notwendige Geld stattdessen in Banken und unnachhaltige Infrastrukturprojekte gesteckt wird.

In den Kindergärten und Schulen sieht die Situation nicht viel besser aus. Gerade in den ersten Lebensjahren wird die Basis für das spätere Lern- und Leistungsverhalten geprägt. Überfüllte Kindergärten und miese Gehälter machen KindergärtnerInnen das Leben schwer, diese sind extrem Burn-Out gefährdet. Die Situation in den Schulen sieht nicht besser aus, die PISA-Ergebnisse bescheinigen Österreich einen massiven Nachholbedarf, über Reformen wird seit Jahren nur geredet.

Infos: http://www.unsereuni.at

Blog about Urban Mobility in Vienna

Dienstag, September 15th, 2009

As you might have noticed I had a longer break on my blog during the summer holidays. One of the reasons, beside being lazy, was an identity-crisis of my blog. I didn’t really know what to do with it, it’s very mixed up. Things about politics, personal stuff, about my travels and about my projects – (Nearly) everything I’m interested in. Parts of my blog are in German, parts in English.

I wanted to start something new, about Urban Mobility in Vienna, which is very important to me, and where I see a lot of potential, but I see that most ideas fail because of politics. I want to start a new blog to develop ideas. I invite everybody to participate in discussions there, and would be glad to see some guest articles of other authors. If it develops nicely I could even imagine changing it to a collaboration platform. But for now I want to publish my ideas there.

Don’t worry, I’ll keep my old blog, and I will continue to write about my personal interests, but it might happen, that there are no updates for several months.

Here you can find my new blog: Mobilität in Wien

Cycling once more

Mittwoch, Juli 1st, 2009

So, now it’s the last week of Erasmus in Bulgaria. Tomorrow we will have a little fare-well party, then with some friends to the sea side for some days. I’m looking forward, it will be very nice for sure. I suppose this is the last post on my blog which I write from Bulgaria, at home the internet stopped working today (new month, I don’t think it’s worth to pay for it anymore, but a friend of me has her diploma presentation today, therefore I went to university and took the opportunity to make use of one of the open wireless networks around). Next week I will have one day in Sofia, on Wednesday I’m going (by way of Vienna to drop of some things) to the ‚State of the Map‘-conference (THE OpenStreetMap-conference) in Amsterdam. I’m sure I will be able to give you some „live“ impressions from there on my blog.

Now I want to raise some more thoughts about cycling. Even the Sofians start to build bicycle lanes everywhere, but they still have a lot to learn. In my opionion it’s not (only) the amount of bicycle lanes that matters, it’s the interconnection of those. A good example is the first image: You see that bicycle road parallel to the big road? It’s a good road, I used it many times (for walking and cycling). But if you want to go there or leave it, you have to cross the bridge to the left (which is brand new), where you find more or less the same situation (at least you can go to some underpass), or you do it like the cyclist, who bravely crosses the big road.

The second picture: Do they really want to make us cycle on that lane? Not that it’s curvy and narrow as hell, there are also many pedestrians. Beside the high possibility of accidents, the pedestrians will not be happy about the cyclists, although in fact, it’s the politians who make these stupid decisions (but they will be angry about the cyclists, like in Vienna). If I cycle, I want to cycle fast.

What shall I say about the third one? Actually I’m surprised how they managed to paint the bicycle lane, maybe they were waiting for each parking space until it was free.

In the last days I was watching some short movies about Copenhagen, it must be a wonderful city, especially for cyclists. I started to wonder … I know many cities, which are proud to have a high modal split (percentage of ways in a cities made by a special kind of transportation, like car, public transportation, walking, cycling, …) for cycling and walking. And those cities are glowing from their public spaces and cultural life. Do you know any cities which are proud to have a high percentage of car use? I don’t know any, because they usually are stuck with traffic. So municipalities, go out, build bicycle lanes and take the space from the roads, not the pedestrians. You can only win cultural life and happy inhabitants!

Oh, and please do something against bicycle robbery … my second bike got stolen last week, while I was having a small dinner and a short beer in a restaurant.

How the Power of the Crowd could change Urbanism

Dienstag, Juni 23rd, 2009

My studies in Sofia, Bulgaria, where I did my year of studying abroad with the Erasmus program, are finally over. Most of the things I did this semester were not so interesting, at least not for presenting them on my Blog. But one of my subjects, where I didn’t participate in the classes, but had weekly private seminar meetings, was really interesting. The subject of the class was „Environmental Policy and Sustainability“, and I was asked to write some essay about this topic. My first idea was to take some example about ecology in Austria and write about this, but then I decided, that this is lame and boring.

Prof. Elena Dimitrova, the teacher of the class, gave me some books as readings about Sustainability, the most interesting being „Earth at a Crossroads: Paths to a Sustainable Future“ (read it online on Google Books) by Harmut Bossel (published in 1998). The theory behind the book: If you want to have a sustainable development, it’s not enough to just live ecological, you also need sustainability in the social system, in transportation, in your political system and in the economy. When I read the book I had to think about Linux, Wikipedia, OpenStreetMap, CouchSurfing and other initiatives all the time.

So I decided to write about sustainability in digital culture and gave it a spin to politics and urban planning to get back to the topic of my studies. It took me a long time to research for this essay and to write it (even if my English is pretty good now, it’s still not my native tongue), there’s already a lot of information on the internet, but urbanism is still an unexplored  field. In the process I learned a lot, and I found many ideas which I would be interested to implement. If you are interested in this topic you should definitely check out the literature references in the end of the essay. I hope you will like it, I think it got pretty good in the end.

title page As you might see, the essay is available under a Creative Commons license, so please take it and do something interesting with it.
presentation title page This is the presentation to the subject, that I gave in a class (in front of a handful of people). There are two black pages, which should hold videos. The first is a great music video of a guy called Kutiman who remixed Youtube-videos. The second is a beautiful animation of the edits in the OpenStreetMap in the year 2008.

Cycling, Cycling, Cycling

Donnerstag, Mai 21st, 2009

You know, I’m a passionate cyclist. But since my bike got stolen in middle of October, I’m without a ride here in Sofia. I didn’t really miss it, because this place is just not made for cycling.

But, something amazing happened :) A friend of my mother, Nordfried, was doing a cycle tour from Novi Sad in Serbia to Vidin in the very north-west of Bulgaria along the Danube. To go back to their home country (Germany) they came to Sofia and wrote me an e-mail beforehand if I would be willing to help them with train tickets and show them around a little bit. For sure, I like being a guide, I myself always learn something new. After helping with train tickets Nordfried offered me to take his bike – he had just bought it in Novi Sad and has no use for it in Germany. I’m feeling so flattered … I’m very happy about it. But still I’m afraid to use it, because I don’t want it to be stolen again. And I need a good place for the night. First I need a good lock!

Two days later on Saturday, there was an invitation to a „bike parade“ through Sofia, to demand more bicycle lanes. As I have my new ride now, it was mandatory for me to go there. And I was really amazed, I think there were more than 2000 people. I didn’t even think there were so many bikes in Sofia (ok, I’m kidding). Afterwards there was a small party in the „Kolodrum“, a former bicycle arena, but I decided to go to the night of museums with free entrance. I think Sofia needs some more years, but finally it could become a good place!

In the last days I read in my newspaper, that – maybe due to the financial crisis – many more people uses bikes for their everyday ways in Vienna as in the last years. At the most important counting point – at the Ring near the State Opera – there’s an increase of about 25% to the last year. On other points, Lassallestraße, Kennedybrücke and Langobardenstraße the increase is about 50% (more statistics). This is really great news, I hope that the politicians now feel the need to do something (for example find a good solution for the cycle route at the Ring).

No more motorways!

Freitag, April 24th, 2009

Just two weeks ago I vent my anger on my blog about governmental financial support for cars and construction of new motorways. Today you could read on the news page of our federal broadcasting station orf.at about a study, that investing in cycling, public transportation and alternative means of transportation employs much more people and is much more sustainable – and the study talks only about the process of construction, not including the effects afterwards.

My words. I’m curious if our politicians will change their path … I doubt it.

But maybe there’s hope. Our planet deserves it.

Read the whole text here (for sure in German).