#68 - 19 February 2021

When territories take the floor and propose a vision of the future of mobility

On February 9th, a remarkable report on mobility in Île-de-France, focusing on the peripheral area of the region, was published; it is entitled “The future of mobility in Île-de-France: emergency plan for the peripheral areas”. This report is remarkable for three reasons, starting with its approach. Prepared by François Durovray, President of the Essonne Departmental Council, who is the first signatory, this report is also signed by local and national elected representatives from all sides. A few months away from major elections, this non-partisan approach is rare enough to be noted in a country with no tradition of political consensus. It alone underlines the urgency emphasized in the title of the report.

It is also remarkable because of its subject. In a public debate on mobility almost exclusively centered on the urban hypercentre – how many articles, how many photos on the use of cycle paths in central Paris? –, this report stands out by talking about the territories that should be in the headlines of any serious debate on the decarbonization of mobility, i.e. peri-urban tserritories. It is on the roads of peripheral France that the future reduction of CO2 emissions of our mobility is at stake, it is there that there are untreated needs in terms of offering mobility solutions, it is there that we must act as a priority.

Finally, this report is remarkable for its content, particularly the proposals it puts forward. It shows that magic and simple solutions do not exist; it reminds us that price signals are more effective and more sustainable than coercive measures; it emphasizes, by courageously tackling the issues of the mobility of goods and eco-taxes, that mobility is a system; it focuses on the reality of the territory – the road – to show how it is an asset on which solutions can be built and not a liability to write off; it insists on complementary solutions by highlighting the role that both infrastructure and technologies may play. Finally, it is part of a perspective on growth and gives substance to the concept of green growth, showing that it is inseparable from an approach that starts from the field reality.

Clearly, this is not just another report. Let us even hope that it will spread and that other territories will take the floor to propose a vision of sustainable mobility that is as ambitious as it is concrete, far from catchphrases and simplisms.  – Cécile Maisonneuve, President


No time to read? La Fabrique de la Cité has got you covered.

TOWARDS AN AGILE HOSPITAL? – Before the health crisis, the hospital's adaptation to the growth of ambulatory care and to the reduced length of stay (sometimes a few hours) seemed to suffer no exception. It appears today that the hospital must also be able to continue to cope with crises and unexpectedly receive many patients for long stays. It is therefore necessary to design a hospital capable of the greatest possible upgradability. Will it be open to the city or will it become a self-sufficient typology as OMA imagines? – Chloë Voisin-Bormuth, Director of Studies and Research

– In 2020, the government of Brussels had set up a Scientific Committee on Housing composed of 7 experts to rethink housing in a context marked by telework and reflections on economic recovery. The report resulting from the committee’s work gathers recommendations to improve housing conditions in Brussels, in particular by forging “a shared vision” for the actors of the region involved in the production of housing. – Sarah Cosatto, Research Officer

→ Related: our work on housing in big metropolises.

MASS TRANSIT – While a majority of American cities witnesses a sustained decline in public transit ridership, is this phenomenon reflects a sustainable decline in mass transit efficiency? Quite the contrary. According to David Zipper, public transit remains essential for a part of the population and it is urgent to consider a new way of measuring its efficiency thanks to accessibility, i.e. mass transit’s capacity to reduce social and territorial inequalities. – Camille Combe, Project Manager

A study conducted in Portland (Oregon) on new urban zoning policies showed that upzoned parcels produced three times as much new housing as other parcels, resulting in a greater urban density. However, experts point out that upzoning does not guarantee such densification or a greater acceptability of this densification. For them, “the most impactful place for upzoning would be in suburban or exurban areas, where there is greater scope for new development” in the long run. – Sarah Cosatto

→ Related: our issue brief debunking myths on urban density.

HONG KONG, “THE CITY OF SUSTAINABLE SKYSCRAPERS”? – As “the world's capital of tall buildings”, Hong Kong makes a point of increasing their sustainability, bearing in mind that the city intends to achieve net-zero emissions in 2050. However, challenges abound: enhancing energy efficiency during peak hours of use, contending with a constrained territory and limited spaces, applying a “whole-life approach which takes into account both embodied and operational emissions”… Is the sky still the limit? – Sarah Cosatto

→ Related: our work on the post-carbon city.

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