Carpool Beta Release

I released the Mumbai Carpool site to a limited audience on C**S**F on Saturday. I think it is safe to call this a beta release. If all goes well and people start adopting it, I’m planning to take it to the mainstream media in a couple of weeks. Here’s the url: and a screenshot.

Why did I write this? It was during August 2003 that I found myself involved quite heavily in a debate about something that shouldn’t have been a matter of debate at all. The Pune authorities wanted to break up a mountain so that they could shove a road through it. To me, it seemed like a no-brainer. Of course you can’t take away one of the last remaining green spaces in Pune and replace it with tar and concrete and Ford Endeavours. To my horror though, there were enough people, educated people, well-meaning people, to whom that fifteen minutes saved on their commute was more precious. I found myself engaged in endless debates about this issue, and so to educate myself more, I started doing some research. This is when I stumbled upon Enrique Peñalosa, the incredible Mayor of Bogota. What he has to say is much better said by him. Suffice to say that his ideas brought tears to my eyes, for example

One common measure of how clean a mountain stream is is to look for trout. If you find the trout, the habitat is healthy. It’s the same way with children in a city. Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people.


If we in the Third World measure our success or failure as a society in terms of income, we would have to classify ourselves as losers until the end of time. Given our limited resources, we have to invent other ways to measure success, and that could be in terms of happiness. It may be in how much time children spend with their grandparents, or the ways in which we are able to enjoy our friendships, or how many times people smile during the week. A city is successful not when it’s rich but when its people are happy. Public space is one way to lead us to a society that is not only more equal but also much happier.

Here are some links definitely worth following.
The Politics of Happiness
Bogota-A City Transformed
A Tale of Two Mayors:The improbable story of how Bogota, Colombia, became somewhere you might actually want to live
Academic Turns City Into A Social Experiment

Yes, I recognise it for the childish idealism that it is…:-) but I figure if it can be done in Bogota, it sure can happen anywhere.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to ride a bike in your hometown if you wanted to?