The Art Of Driving

The Guardian interviews and profiles Mayer Hillman, the ‘radical green social scientist’.

“Hillman is unfazed by polite ridicule: he has met it so often before. Propositions that seemed absurdly unachievable at the time he expounded them are now green commonplaces, if not official policy. As far back as 1972, he was speaking out against the granting of planning permission to hypermarkets and large out-of-town retail stores because of their environmental costs, their detrimental effect on small shops, and the way they discriminated against those without cars. John Gummer, then secretary of state for the environment, ruled against awarding further planning permission for out-of-town shopping centres in 1995. In 1984, Hillman proposed energy audits and thermal ratings for buildings. The Abbey National building society adopted it as policy the following year. I remember him audaciously suggesting, more than 20 years ago, that road intersections should be raised to pavement level to give priority to pedestrians – something local authorities have started to introduce over the past decade. And in 1979, he and Anne Whalley inveighed against the way that national transport data ignored journeys of less than a mile, most of them walking, and concentrated only on private and public motorised transport. Fifteen years later, walking had been added to the official research agenda, in words that might have come straight out of Hillman and Whalley’s report.”

Related: Policy Studies Institute.