RedBlue Conversations

Expert 01: Alain Bertaud

Episode Summary

In episode 1 of the Expert series we speak with Alain Bertaud, Senior Fellow at New York University's Marron Institute of Urban Management. Read more at news.red.blue

Episode Notes

In our inaugural episode of the Expert series, RedBlue speaks with Alain Bertaud, Senior Fellow at New York University's Marron Institute of Urban Management. He is the author of  a book about markets and the practice of urban planning titled “Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities” published by MIT Press in December 2018. Bertaud previously held the position of principal urban planner at the World Bank. After retiring from the Bank in 1999, he worked as an independent consultant. Prior to joining the World Bank he worked as a resident urban planner in a number of cities around the world: Bangkok, San Salvador (El Salvador), Port au Prince (Haiti), Sana’a (Yemen), New York, Paris, Tlemcen (Algeria), and Chandigarh (India).

In this conversation, we cover a number of different topics, including how innovation can be leveraged in the process of helping cities to grow, the importance of humility at certain times for open planners, the importance of looking at data and information in order to get city planning right, and also the importance of acting in order to achieve specific outcomes. Alain grounds these lessons in very concrete examples of how different cities operate and different things have played out over the length of his career.

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Episode Transcription

[00:00:00]

[00:00:00] Olaf Sakkers: This is the first in a series of conversations with various experts that we're calling the RedBlue Expert Series. Our first guest in the series is Alain Bertaud. Alain is a fellow at the Marron Institute at New York University. He's the author of a book about markets and the practice of urban planning, titled Order Without Design: How Markets Shape Cities. What's interesting about Alain is he's worked across many different cultures and in many different cities across the world thinking about urban planning and how best to organize transportation within these cities.

[00:00:29] His experience is vast. He's worked in places as diverse as Bangkok, Thailand, San Salvador in El Salvador, port-au-Prince in Haiti. Santa and Yemen, New York City, Paris, Tlemsen in Algeria and Chandigarh in India. We've gotten to know Alain quite well over last few years and always appreciate our conversations with him given both the richness of his experience and his ability to draw on personal examples based in actually having worked in these places.

[00:00:53] In this conversation, we cover a number of different topics, including how innovation can be leveraged in the process of [00:01:00] helping cities to grow, the importance of humility at certain times for open planners, the importance of looking at data and information in order to get city planning right, and also the importance of acting in order to achieve specific outcomes. Alain grounds these lessons in very concrete examples of how different cities operate and different things have played out over the length of his career.

[00:01:22] Alain, great to have you on the podcast.

[00:01:24] Alain Bertaud: Thank you so much for inviting me. It's always a pleasure. 

[00:01:27] Olaf Sakkers: Maybe an interesting way, Alain, to to frame this conversation is to talk about innovation in cities because I think we tend to think of urban planning as a very top down process but maybe a lot of the most interesting things that happen in cities aren't necessarily planned.

[00:01:45] Alain Bertaud: Absolutely, and that's, by the way is true everywhere in the world, every city , I, I don't make much difference between cities, in developing countries or in industrialized country. They have exactly the same issues. And the issue [00:02:00] is this: the wealth of cities is created by individuals and individual firms, who are, are doing trial and error, and they should be allowed to do those trial and error. They should be enough flexibility for them to decide where to locate what to do, uh, how to use the land. At the same time, because you have an agglomeration of a large number of people, you have to have an infrastructure, which link all this private initiative together. And maybe planning is mostly the planning of infrastructure, uh, and much less planning of, uh, individual building, uh, which should have much more flexibility. So for instance having like in New York something like 80 type of commercial area is not very useful.

[00:02:54] You know, it assume that the planner know exactly what type of commercial area should [00:03:00] go where, which goes completely against those innovation. And where in fact, at the same time, there is a neglect of the infrastructure aspect of the city either because it's fragmented between different administration, or because again, some people are more interested in for instance, bike lane rather than, the network of electricity or, or the network of internet or something like that.

[00:03:27] Olaf Sakkers: But, but I think about something like micromobility infrastructure, bike lanes, which are not in the traditional kind of planning framework, and for instance, we were in Dubai and talking about how they had challenges getting people onto the Dubai Metro we're talking to the RTA which is the Road Transit Authority.

[00:03:47] And it was interesting to me when we kind of drill down into the structure of, of the RTA. And I think this is not unique to Dubai by any means it's, it's the norm. Micromobility had been handed over to some disconnected [00:04:00] branch of the government that was not necessarily thinking about the ways in which people could take micromobility to get to the subway, because Dubai's very hot and because of the, the structure is built quite a lot around cars. The distances to most of the transit stops were quite difficult to get to. So micromobility was maybe a natural integration that you'd wanna build out, but there wasn't a lot of ways in which the organizational structures could connect those things together.

[00:04:27] I, I kind of wonder how often it is the new things that are coming along, I mean, obviously, transit options don't change at such a rapid pace. But there's like this ossification that happens as an agency or authority has gotten used to doing something a certain way and doesn't stop and think about from a kind of more first principals perspective. Like, should we be maybe doing things completely differently?

[00:04:54] Alain Bertaud: This is universal also. You see that because again, they don't think about transport. [00:05:00] They think about, one aspect. They want to run their little part of the utility or, or the transport thing efficiently. That's why very often even they will think that, uh, if next to a subway station, you have parking for bicycles that will, in fact, make things difficult.

[00:05:20] They would rather have a clean subway entrance because they just think about the running and the design of their subway. They are not interested in the overall transport system of people who are not using the subway yet. How do we get city managers first to go across boundaries so that they look at the city again as a labor market or as a consumer market, rather than just a small group of people who have to be helped, individually in each neighborhood. That that's, I think is the main challenge.

[00:05:53] This will be helped by having enough data to show the commuting time of [00:06:00] different group of people. Singapore does that. Singapore monitors the commuting time neighborhood by neighborhood, and they try to modify the infrastructure to improve this. And they have usually a quantitative target saying from this neighborhood the people going to work, commuting time is 35 minutes and it's going to come down to 30 or 28 minutes. If we want to manage our networks better, we need completely different type of data. 

[00:06:27] Olaf Sakkers: Interesting that you mentioned Singapore. Cause I can't think it's kind of seen as a paradigm for how to plan things from the top down, uh, effectively. We've had a few conversations about it in the past, but for instance, in Singapore, you don't really see bike lane infrastructure, micromobility infrastructure built out that much. And I, I feel like they're missing an opportunity, you know, with bikes before it it's maybe too hot, but with e-bikes it seems like a natural thing to fit into that ecosystem. 

[00:06:56] Alain Bertaud: Right. Yes, so that's a bit of problem sometime when cities [00:07:00] goes to bike to e-bike, because e-bikes are faster, they have some accident. And some cities in China ban e-bike. I think Shanghai is one of them. I don't know if it's still true now, but one city were favored e-bike from the beginning was Shangdu. Shangdu is now a city of 7 million people. It's not inconsequential. And, uh, particularly a lot of the commuters are using e-bikes and it's extremely efficient, including on the housing side, using e-bike allow some area to be developed for housing and be accessible to the rest of the city without having, a subway stop nearby or something, which, or usually requires certain number of years, you know, so you could develop land. The, the other example, which is not e-bike, it's more a cycle, but also moped is Hanoi. You know, Hanoi as, uh, I think one of the best housing stock [00:08:00] given the income of the city. They have no slums really. And I think it's entirely due to using moped, and electric bikes or electric motorcycle. I think that, flexibility in transport has a, an enormous influence also on land use and has a positive influence on for the housing affordability.

[00:08:20] Olaf Sakkers: You've, you've got a large diversity of different cities, so the same solutions won't necessarily work everywhere. You've got new innovation periodically happening. You've got new kinds of solutions, like micro mobility coming up , in the future, you might have autonomous vehicles.

[00:08:37] You had a rise in freight and goods delivery. How do we get to good outcomes? Because it seems like we end up with a lot of bad outcomes and I feel like if you were to tell a set of stories, the one about Vietnam is interesting, but I don't feel there that many cities that have gone, oh, Vietnam is doing this, how do we also not have slums in our city? So like, how does good stuff [00:09:00] happen in the way we plan cities? 

[00:09:02] Alain Bertaud: Not only cities do not copy, Hanoi, but the people in Hanoi the planners wanted to get rid of the motorcycle and the moped, because themself were driving cars and they thought they were messy, you know, and, and they're not without problem, but, uh, well, one of the problem was noise and pollution, which again, will be solved by having electric bicycle and electric scooters.

[00:09:27] There is a problem of perception, or, or considering progress, you know, in some cities. People consider that progress is using the car because people who are more affluent used car and they want everybody to be affluent. That's why, for instance, even in country like India in Ahmedabad uh, one of the major problem in formal housing is that they require parking space.

[00:09:54] One parking space per apartment, and at the densities they have, they, they have to have [00:10:00] underground parking, which is extremely expensive and, make housing very expensive. So they think they're being progressive by saying, haha, we have where everybody has a car, everybody will have a parking lot.

[00:10:12] Olaf Sakkers: Yeah, it seems to be a mistaking of this is what something looks like and therefore that's what we want.

[00:10:18] Alain Bertaud: Because they don't look at transports they look at one element of transport at a time. It's the same when people want to build the new cities. When you, you see, for instance, NEOM in Saudi Arabia, this absurd idea of a linear city because they feel well, if you have only one line, it's very easy to, to run a thing like that, and you could have high speed.

[00:10:39] A linear city of 150 kilometer long, and one kilometer wide is the most inefficient form of city. Uh, but they optimize only one. So sometime when I discussed my, my colleagues in different cities, so if you optimize the design of a city to optimize a sewer system, for [00:11:00] instance, to have the most efficient and cheap sewer system, you will end up with a sewer plant in the CBD, you know, because that will make the sewer the most efficient, but it'll make the city extremely inefficient, of course.

[00:11:14] When I was in Yemen planner in Yemen, they were developing a new water supply system and the engineer came to see me, I was the planner and say, you should prevent the hills from developing the hills against, around, Sana'a because, uh, you know, if we, if the city develop only in the flat area, I will save at the time $5 million, in a pumping station. And, uh, you know, I will not have to put water tower in elevated place and that's a, a significant, reduction in the cost of water. However, in order to save, uh, $5 million in infrastructure of water, they were throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars of land values because [00:12:00] they were small hills which were very easy to develop which were very close to city center.

[00:12:05] So you see, uh, this optimization of one aspect is extremely dangerous because precisely city is made of, connection of very, very complex system. Now, how do we get rid of that? This kind of trying to optimize only one aspect of the city at the expense of everything else. And that's why I think markets are, are so absolutely necessary because markets tell you what really the people want.

[00:12:32] Olaf Sakkers: So I think the interesting thing about markets is they allow two different things. The, the one is they allow people to act. You talked about people having opportunity, being able to vote with their feet, And that's kind of tied to liberty or freedom. You know, that if you have a marketplace, you have choices and the kind of existence of that allows citizens or consumers or whatever you wanna call them to act within that.

[00:12:57] But I think another aspect that's really [00:13:00] interesting and, and I think you've thought a lot about is also you get information that isn't obvious. It, it aggregates a certain kind of information about value. If people are willing to pay something for something, then it suggests that there is something that you might have have seen before.

[00:13:18] And also, I think the, the kind of subtle simplicity and power of markets is they can take a whole set of complex things. You gave this example of water towers in, in Sana'a, where one person is optimizing one thing. But if you can bring everything into a collective marketplace, basically pull it in like a big data lake, so to speak, then you can get these true integrations and kind of see what the real trade offs are, and also make much better decisions around them. 

[00:13:47] And then I think another thing is the lack of integration between decision makers. And you've probably seen this first hand. I mean, the, the story in, in Sana'a is so jolting because I know, [00:14:00] you know, somewhere like in many places somebody just made a decision and it wasn't necessarily for the right reason, and yet it's affecting their life in, in this way. And I feel like there's so many things about our worlds that determined that way, but more concretely there are challenges around, decision makers and like, who are the people deciding, and who are they deciding for? Who do they think they're beholden to as their constituents? And then what are they deciding? Like, are they only thinking about cars or are they thinking about transit in, in a cohesive way? And I think these two things kind of merge together, you know, into the, this, this kind of topic of markets in, in really interesting ways.

[00:14:40] Alain Bertaud: Yes. Maybe the example of 80% of the curb of Manhattan is used by free parking. So again, it's free parking precisely because there is no market in public space, uh, and, uh, and the city itself could create a market but cannot do it because the [00:15:00] people who are voting there are used to free parking and they themself are against new development because they say, oh if you build more apartment here we will have to share this free parking with more people, and therefore we don't want it. So you see whenever the market is not working it's up to the politician to take a decision. They will take the right decision as politician, but the wrong decision in terms of the welfare of the people. You know, as one, I think it was a, a president of the European Union say we know what to do, uh, and to make things right and make things working right. We don't know to get reelected after we have improved the things, you know, that will be the case in New York. Any mayor will say no more free parking will never be reelected. 

[00:15:46] Olaf Sakkers: So it, it seems that, there's these fortunate coincidences that allow a certain kind of organizational structure to lead to better outcomes and other times to worse outcomes, but undergirding however a [00:16:00] city is structured and however the constituents are, what should we be optimizing for or thinking about. I mean, your book's called Order Without Design, right? So

[00:16:09] Alain Bertaud: Yes. Yes.

[00:16:10] Olaf Sakkers: How do you create the organizational structures? You, you describe it kind of as rigidity, while also giving that freedom within it for marketplaces to act. And also I think over time to respond, to shifts, and to reevaluate and, and, re repurpose things.

[00:16:29] Alain Bertaud: The luck we have in, at least in market economy, is that we have in every city, this very clear separation of public space from private space. So the freedom of people, to innovate is mostly in the private space. I think uh, market signal should be prevalent there. You know, I'm not against regulation but any regulation should be tested to see how the negative aspect, you know, limiting the choice [00:17:00] of people versus the, the assume benefits of the regulation. On the other hand, on the other part of the land allocation, which is, the public space, this, unfortunately is done top down, but, but it should be clear that if you design a, a sewer system or a subway system, it's top down, you know, you cannot ask, um, every citizen, would you want a station here or here. It has to be designed from an engineering point of view, an optimization of, of things.

[00:17:35] However, what should be clear is that this top down design is there to serve the existing population the way it distribute itself in the private realm where a counter example of that for instance, I remember in Jakarta where they were trying to create a light rail system, the planner of the light rails, [00:18:00] say in order to make light rail financially viable, the, the city should oblige people to have higher density around the light rail and therefore reduce density in other area, which are not served by light rail. So you see here, they were reversing the priority. The priority for the light rail is to serve the population, which is there the way they want to distribute themself around the city.

[00:18:27] What is wrong is let's say if you design top down, but then you say in order to make it work the private realm also has to be affected by regulations so that it'll serve my infrastructure. 

[00:18:41] So that's the main problem that you have to accept the result of the market, that means where the people decide to locate in their activities. And the infrastructure has to serve that. Rather than to say, I design an infrastructure and therefore the people who [00:19:00] have to follow this infrastructure and concentrate in the area around my infrastructure. I don't know if you have seen in Singapore, especially in the newest station like Woodlands where the, the incredible integration between bus and subway, you know, the bus itself stop inside the subway station. And when you exit the subway you have a electronic sign which tell you which bus is leaving where at which gate within the subway station. So you see this type of integration is fantastic. I'm not sure, uh, many cities are able to do that because usually the bus is run by a different company from the subway and they are interested in again, optimizing the bus, not optimizing transport.

[00:19:44] Prescott Watson: Talking about light infrastructure versus heavy infrastructure. You talked about how much easier it is to build bike lanes or, you know, Uber can just roll out on roads. Whereas building subways is, is challenging. I think this touches to something that a lot of Americans kind of feel vaguely, but [00:20:00] it's hard to put your finger on and it's our government's capabilities of achieving big projects. And I feel like in the absence of capacity, the most hope we can have is for sort of rapid light touch type of projects. I mean you've seen with Janette Sadik-Kahn under the Bloomberg administration in New York, her whole MO was how can we quickly get paint on roads to change the way traffic moves . And it made a big difference, right? It opened up public space to, to pedestrians.

[00:20:29] It, it kind of rebalanced things, but it was entirely focused on keeping in mind that it's really hard to do anything. How can we just go around and, and change things and paint right.

[00:20:38] Alain Bertaud: I think that here you are, you are reaching a very interesting point to this rigidity. Everything is trial and error. If you have a small shop somewhere, it's a bakery in the wrong place, it's easy to correct, and it'll be corrected very quickly. If you put a subway station in the wrong place, it'll never be corrected. 

[00:20:59] Prescott Watson: Things will [00:21:00] correct themselves around the subway station. 

[00:21:02] Alain Bertaud: Yes and that's why I'm very much against, what we call mega structure, there's this trend now to give an entire neighborhood to one architect I've seen that. I, I think I caught it in some paper in Istanbul, where an enormous neighborhood is given to design to Zaha Hadid. It's an excellent firm of as architect, they're very good architects, there's no doubt about it, but as soon as it design a neighbourhood, you have a mega structure. So the private realm, eventually it'll all be privatized, and you create an enormous rigidity because again it's a mega structure. 

[00:21:41] Olaf Sakkers: I find this idea of building blocks, and maybe you can call it like an urban pattern, fascinating, because once you set this in motion, it kind of determines what's possible and, and how things might play out. So I think, for instance, like the urban pattern of New York versus the urban pattern of Detroit. Detroit literally has these [00:22:00] roads labeled, you know, everybody's heard of like eight, eight mile road or right.

[00:22:05] Like, cause it comes before nine mile road and after seven mile road, like there's, you know, mile by mile city blocks effectively. And so you've got this massive sprawl because everything's been kind of laid out on, on that particular unit of measurement. And it's not on what you could describe maybe as a, as a human scale. It's on a car scale. Um, and so once things are set out. The urban patent is set out on, on these much larger building blocks. Then the only way to get around is, is with cars and the only kind of way to design a city implies a certain kind of pattern where you, you got all this kind of cost base.

[00:22:44] I'm also kind of curious, you described this challenge in Jakarta where they built the light rail and then tried to pull the city around it, you know, forcing it.

[00:22:54] And this idea of, I, I wanna call it humility, in, in urban design, like how do you[00:23:00] understand what your job is as an urban planner and also understand what your job is not. Cuz I think there's a tendency to think that when you can make choices you must make choices. I've been, this is a weird transition, but I've been watching The Crown, and the the Queen often says, the hardest thing is to do nothing, but that is our job. Like I think oftentimes as an open planner, looking at a city and realizing that your job is in fact to do nothing rather than something might be a really, really difficult position to find in. 

[00:23:31] Alain Bertaud: Uh, I, I will say as a planner, it's not to do nothing, but to observe what people are doing, to monitor what people are doing very carefully and then trying to respond to it. Rather than to say, the city should develop to the north and, uh, the CBD should be dense and should be here.

[00:23:50] You just look what's happening. And you say, what can I do to make things easier to serve the people the way they are. So it requires certain [00:24:00] humility indeed. In a way, for me, it was easier because I worked a lot in cities which were culturally foreign to me. If I had been working in France mostly probably I would have set idea about the way French cities should be designed. But if you work in India, or Yemen, or in China or Indonesia the culture is very different and people have different priorities.

[00:24:27] Therefore your job is to really observe what they are doing because they have the different values. And so in a way it's easier to work if you have this humility about culture. If you travel, you should have a switch and you switch off your culture when you move to another thing. So, so you see you, you have to respect what the people are doing in the private realm and try to serve it. Rather than say, there are a bunch of idiots and the city should develop here and there. 

[00:24:56] Prescott Watson: Olaf, you said that you think that the challenge of planning is just [00:25:00] do as little as possible or realize that you, you shouldn't make decisions. 

[00:25:03] Alain, you said the job was to be humble and to be more responsive to what people want. 

[00:25:07] Both of these things kind of remind me of a conversation, which is the conversation in which I originally heard about your book, Alain.

[00:25:14] And that was with David Block-Schachter. He used to be the CTO, chief technology officer of MBTA, Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority. But in that conversation, we were talking about Sidewalk Labs and we were talking about whether or not it was hubristic to try top down planning, et cetera. And he told us his story of how he started his career as an interaction designer. So you were designing products, maybe digital, maybe physical, where you were, you had to watch how people used them. And if you saw people were using them incorrectly, you wouldn't assume that the people were dumb. You assume that your design is bad. And he said that that really informed him, uh, the way he tried to change MBTA a from inside. 

[00:25:56] I don't wanna speak for him, but I assume that it was quite frustrating to try making a [00:26:00] transit authority more responsive to what people did versus just to assume that people don't know what they're doing.

[00:26:06] If you were to try fixing the way that planners and city officials think about things to give them a book or give them access to expand their thinking. In your case, it was traveling and realizing that your cultural norms didn't apply to a Chinese city and kind of looking outside the box. What do you think is needed for our leaders to learn and to open their minds, to start thinking about this differently?

[00:26:29] Alain Bertaud: Well put yourself in the shoes of somebody else, who is using the city, you know, a plumber or a guy who works in a restaurant Einstein in his memoir says that he discovered some physical law by imagining himself being a photon and going in space. And, uh, what would happen to him if he traveled at the speed of light. Try to solve a problem by trying to imagine yourself in different situation. And then of course you can talk with those [00:27:00] people too. But I think that if you start imagining being in their shoes that will help.

[00:27:05] Olaf Sakkers: It's interesting that you give this example of imagining being in somebody's shoes. Because when I wrote my book, one of the angles I took was writing out what I called user stories. Just like trying to figure out how different people interact with certain things.

[00:27:21] And I, I was writing specifically about something, um, that I think has emerged, uh, over recent years. You, you talk a lot about marketplaces and labor marketplaces, real estate marketplaces and how they, they give tools. But I, I don't think there, until recently, was a real marketplace for transportation in the sense that you can buy standalone trips.

[00:27:43] You'd much more own a car, which is you've got a marketplace for owning cars, but that marketplace doesn't translate into price signals for how people use their cars, which, which is this weird effect where I think you then have planners almost automatically working in a kind of [00:28:00] dark space of like you talked about, Singapore is like a good example of it.

[00:28:04] But for the most part, you don't have that much control over how people use their cars. You create the space and the people come and they do things in that space. So trying to imagine through this lens of user stories, how people use trip marketplaces and use trips for different purposes. And I think as you dive into how trip marketplace is evolving in the diversity of them, how many different kinds of trips people make and all the different kinds of reasons people make trips.

[00:28:31] And to some extent the process for me was like, wow, there's this massive diversity. And at the same time there are only a few categories of different kinds of trips people do make. They go to work, they visit their friends, you know, they go to the doctor, they go shopping, they take the kids to school. Like those are, those are the five big categories of what they're doing at those places. So it's interesting to kind of think about that complexity and also then break it down into a new kind of simplicity and then work [00:29:00] from there.

[00:29:00] Alain Bertaud: In my book, I give the example of this woman in South Africa, who will you know clean offices. And she has a trip, she spent five hours in transport. And she's not poor she has a regular job, she has a minimum wage and she has a heavily subsidized houses. So she has a comfortable house, but she escapes statistics. And so I describe in the book, she had to walk to a collective taxi to the train and then to another train then to another collective taxi in some. So that's why it could take five hours.

[00:29:37] Uh, you can say it's a green life and, and I'm afraid that the new poor in our city will not be people were were starving but have a life which is completely skewed by the time they spent making a living, that's case transport could be. What struck me in this South African case is that she's not poor [00:30:00] technically. But her life, , she has children. I mean how do she see her children? Does she has time educating her children? Does she transmit the culture? Because if she spend eight hours working and five hours in transport. 

[00:30:12] Olaf Sakkers: I think an interesting question is whether she thinks she has a choice. And the interesting thing about marketplace is actually I have a friend who's a professor of philosophy, he looks at Hagel and what Hagel has to say about marketplaces, that's his, his focus. Hegel's got some really interesting points about marketplaces, which is they're not necessarily bad.

[00:30:35] They, they, they force you to think about your optionality because when you have lots of different choices between this and that, you forced to think about what it is you want as an individual and, and how to weigh those things. And I think that's like one of the weird things about cars in America is it's so simple.

[00:30:53] You need to get a car like, and when you're 16, you need to get a driver's license. And it was same for me in South Africa [00:31:00] growing up, because everything's also built around cars in most, for most people. It's, you know, not considered safe to commute any other way. But when you start having these trip marketplaces where you can take an Uber, you mentioned Uber and it's and it's flexibility, but that's the nature of every trip marketplace.

[00:31:16] It stands up quite quickly, it's quite flexible. I mean, urban planners have kind of tried to swat these things down, um, like mosquitoes in part, because I think, you know, doing nothing is much harder than doing something and not having control is worse than having control, but that's not necessarily, you know, what, what users want.

[00:31:38] And, and I think this is a very extreme example, um, of a lot of the urban planning challenges you described earlier. 

[00:31:44] Alain Bertaud: But you see here again, in the case of this woman if she had the motorcycle or even a moped she will take only an hour and a half that transport because it's not that far.

[00:31:54] And, uh, the whole infrastructure is, is, well developed. But, uh, at the time [00:32:00] I was told that that will not be possible because in this township to keep a moped for a woman, stopping at a traffic light it would be hijacked. So she has no choice.

[00:32:11] Prescott Watson: Alain, thank you for joining us.

[00:32:12] Alain Bertaud: Thank you so much. And thank you for inviting me. Always very, it's very stimulating to have this conversation.

[00:32:18]