EPOMM e-update August 2018
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Dear reader,

Neighbourhoods are the areas where people live, where ideally you would like to have a nice area in the street with many services, shops, cafés, no crime and hassles, good connections, often also easy parking. At the neighbourhood level you also often find local initiatives and groups engaged in improving certain aspects of the neighbourhood, e.g. a quieter street, nicer architecture, less parking, more parking, more green etc. It is an ideal place to involve people, but this is also a difficult task as there is a huge diversity in cultural backgrounds, demographic developments, economic potential and social conditions.

As cities are no longer planned just by planners, but also by the people themselves, this EPOMM e-update throws a spotlight on neighbourhood-level transport innovations – that organisationally often happen on the urban district level.


Wellbeing as a legitimate and necessary policy goal

Image: © Bergschaf

A lot is spoken about healthy, active and friendly cities, but how can you make them? A city with pleasant places to play, a city that functions as one big sports school, a city where you can grow up safely, a city where you can easily grow old, and a city where you can naturally cycle everywhere. The Active City, a document commissioned by the city of Amsterdam, shows how such a city looks. It offers inspiring examples and design tools and includes articles from various experts.

In his book ‘The Happy City’, Montgomery argues that the happy neighbourhood, the green neighbourhood and the low-carbon neighbourhood can be the same place.

Both the document and the book show that policymakers around the world are embracing wellbeing as a legitimate and necessary policy goal.


Active mobility helps to transform urban districts

Source: City of Cologne

Altstadt-Süd is a very dense neighbourhood in Cologne, Germany, in which walking and cycling are supported through several measures.

Measures include the transformation of car lanes into designated bicycle lanes, the removal of barriers for pedestrians, providing better parking for bicycles, and the development of a pedestrian strategy with consultation of local residents.

New mobility stations bring together mobility offers such as car sharing, bike and cargo bike sharing in one location. There are also neighbourhood projects initiated by a non-profit association, with the goal of improving the public realm. It is planning experiments to redesign car parks and parking spaces, involving residents and others. At the end of the project, the newly created spaces will be showcased at a celebratory event.

The demonstration project Altstadt-Süd is within the field of research Active Mobility in Urban Quarters of the federal programme Experimental Housing and Urban Development.


Real-life mobility research at the aspern.mobil LAB


The Viennese are proud of the high quality of life in their city. Innovation is essential to maintain this quality in a rapidly growing city. With its ‘Smart City Wien Framework Strategy’, the City of Vienna has committed itself to doing precisely that. One thing is evident: innovative solutions are not about technological progress alone. A city is only ‘smart’ when everyone benefits and the focus of innovation is firmly on people and their needs. New approaches to enhance community life in the urban environment and make it more eco-friendly are being piloted and tested at Aspern Seestadt, the new ‘city within a city’ currently under construction and due for completion in 2028.

The residents of Seestadt are treading new paths, both literally and metaphorically. The mission at aspern.mobil LAB is to design eco-friendly solutions for urban mobility based on research, analysis and real-life testing. And it is not only researchers who are involved: a significant part of the project consists of collaboration with local residents and businesses. They are the experts on the ground, providing the LAB with input on when, where and how they wish to get around the city.


Sustainable district contracts in Brussels

Jonction (2014-2018)

The Brussels region believes that it’s important to both work on new districts as well as refurbish the older ones. Therefore, the region has introduced the ‘District Contracts’, which are initiatives limited in time and space. They are conducted in partnership between the Region, the municipality and the residents of a district of Brussels. Each contract involves a programme with a specific budget. These sustainable district contracts contain sections on housing, public space, infrastructure and social initiatives.

One example is the district of Jonction, which is the 16th district contract in the City of Brussels. This district contract covers the Jonction district for the period 2014-2018 and develops around a pilot project that aims to improve the immediate area around the North-South axis. In addition to this pilot project, new sports infrastructure, two spaces for young children and various accommodation facilities will be built.

For four years, different socio-economic projects will strengthen the identity of the neighborhood, social cohesion, quality of life and welfare of the residents.


Children as co-creators for sustainable neighbourhoods

© CIVITAS Metamorphosis - www.metamorphosis-project.eu

Would city development be sustainable without children? The European project CIVITAS Metamorphosis starts from the premise that when a neighbourhood has many children in its public space, this is a major indicator that it is well designed as a people-oriented and sustainable neighbourhood. The active involvement of children as co-creators of urban space is a key innovation and a crucial aspect of the project.

Indeed, the Vision Building Workshops implemented in the last months in the seven partner cities have given voice to children, to their city experiences and to their ideas, in a co-creation process for innovative solutions. A clear result was that children to not wish cars to play a role in the street environment. Both adults and children prefer their immediate surroundings to be safer, greener, and more pleasant places, where walking and cycling are encouraged, without being dominated by car driving and/or parking. With the involvement of children, interesting new sustainability ideas came to light. The aim is now to bring them to reality, initially as a trial for one or several days, and then on a permanent basis.

Many more “hands on” examples on transforming the neighbourhood can be found on the Metamorphosis website.


Turning mobility into a sports game

© CIVITAS MUV - www.muv2020.eu

Improving urban mobility on a neighbourhood scale is quite a challenge due to the characteristics of the area considered (size, location, connection with the rest of the city), its accessibility (roads, restricted traffic areas, pedestrian areas), the available mobility systems and infrastructures (bus lines, bike sharing stations, car parks).

A mixed approach is therefore needed to deal with this problem. On the one hand, it’s necessary to act on individuals’ personal motivations, finding levers and incentives that can foster more sustainable and active mobility behaviours. On the other hand, it’s also essential to empower administrators to design people-oriented mobility policies, and not car-oriented ones.

This is exactly what the project CIVITAS MUV - Mobility Urban Values aims to do. Through a game that turns sustainable mobility into a sport, behavioural change in local communities can be fostered. At the same time, mobility data (of course appropriately anonymised) can be collected and made available to local administrations via a web interface to implement mobility strategic plans.

MUV solutions are open, co-created and piloted in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Fundão, Ghent, Helsinki and Palermo.


The neighbourhood is where everyday life unfolds

© Maya Tapiero - sunrise.baka@gmail.com

Within CIVITAS SUNRISE, six neighbourhoods cooperate to make the change! Community driven initiatives are more and more common across many European cities as people feel the need to shape their own city, connect with civil society and exchange best practice. This applies to myriad aspects of urban life, be this a community garden, a co-housing project or a new citizens’ initiative to reduce car use.

CIVITAS SUNRISE’s innovative approach lies in its concrete involvement of citizens in all phases of the project in order to identify and co-create transport measures that make neighbourhoods’ mobility more sustainable. An example? Thanks to a strong participation process involving all actors of two primary schools, the walking bus initiative in the Baka neighbourhood (Jerusalem) got about 40 percent of parents walking children to schools compared to only 7 percent before the education programme started. All this while contributing to reduce congestion and air pollution.

By means of mapping game (e.g. Pin your Idea on the Map) and ‘on the spot‘ workshops, Neo Rysio (Thessaloniki) is getting on board the ‘hard to reach’ groups, including the elderly, to tackle suburban-like mobility challenges and make the neighbourhood more appealing and liveable. SUNRISE started capacity building with a group of Take-Up Cities. There are five seats left for interested cities!



© Karin Gellner

There are many innovative ways to involve people in making their neighbourhoods more sustainable and more attractive. Urban districts are able to involve people in meaningful way by answering one of their main questions: ‘What’s in it for me?’

Or, as Jane Jacobs stated in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”


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