The upcoming Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual International Conference 2023 will feature two sessions affiliated with the Ex-TRA project and sponsored by the Transport Geography Group. These sessions will revolve around the theme of "Street Experiments to Transform Urban Mobility and Public Space." The objective is to explore intentional, temporary changes in street use, regulation, and form, aiming to foster systemic change towards a post-car city. Street experiments, often associated with experimental, tactical, or DIY urbanism, strive to inspire long-term shifts in mindsets and physical environments. The sessions seek to address key questions regarding the impact of street experiments on urban mobility and public spaces.
In the first session, chaired by Enrica Papa from the University of Westminster and Samuel Nello-Deakin from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, various aspects of street experiments will be covered by contributing researchers. Martin Emanuel, Nima Karimzadeh, Andrew Karvonen, and Daniel Normark will examine street experiments in Stockholm, analysing stakeholder motives, interactions, and learning agendas associated with these experiments. They will also highlight the challenges involved in translating the lessons learned into existing policy frameworks.
Ana Graciela Rivas de Gante and David Telmo Durán Rodas will present a Problem-Solution Framework for incorporating street experiments into the urban planning process. Based on a review of over 150 experiments worldwide, their framework provides categories and examples demonstrating how street experiments can address specific urban challenges.
Ersilia Verlinghieri, Harrie Larrington Spencer, Emma Lawlor, and Rachel Aldred will focus on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) as street experiments in two London boroughs. Through go-along interviews with residents, they aim to explore the experiences and perceptions of LTNs, ultimately providing policy recommendations for more equitable and effective interventions.
Quentin Stevens, Dale Leorke, Kim Dovey, Fauster Awepuga, and Merrick Morley will investigate the process through which temporary pop-up parks in Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth were transformed into permanent fixtures. They will analyse the developmental trajectories of these projects and examine the roles played by local governments, planners, and community actors in facilitating the transition from temporary to permanent parks.
Caterina Villani will explore pedestrianized streets in Hong Kong as street experiments, focusing on two cases. Her research delves into the policies and planning instruments associated with temporary pedestrianization and the challenges faced in accommodating competing roles and uses of these streets.
Collectively, these contributions provide valuable insights into the definition, implementation, and impact of street experiments. They address topics such as citizen engagement, monitoring methods, equity considerations, and the potential for transformative change in urban mobility and public spaces.
The second session, chaired by Kim von Schönfeld, Enrica Papa, and Samuel Nello-Deakin, will involve interactive discussions and interventions centred around street experiments in urban mobility and public spaces. This session will feature ten contributions from different researchers:
"Temporary recurring closures and changing mobility patterns; a quasi-experimental study of the impacts of London’s Covid-19 School Streets on Active Travel to School" by Asa Thomas: This study examines the effects of temporary street closures, known as "School Streets," on patterns of school travel in London. Using retrospective, quasi-experimental analysis, the research aims to understand the mobility changes brought about by these interventions.
"From Parking to Parklet to Hub: A serious board game for co-designing a mobility hub in an existing street experiment" by Benjamin Büttner, Ana Rivas, Fernanda Navarro, Simone Aumann, and David Duran-Rodas: This research explores the transformation of a temporary parklet into a mobility hub in Munich, Germany. A serious board game is used to involve the public in the co-design process and select elements for the mobility hub.
"Institutionalizing Experimentation: Assessing the medium-term evolution of COVID-induced street redesign programs in 4 US Cities" by Jeremy Tang and Meredith Glaser: This study examines the evolution of street experiments in four US cities that implemented COVID-induced street redesign programs. The research aims to understand how cities can leverage street experiments to institutionalize changes in urban mobility planning and practices.
"Municipal challenges in re-making city street spaces" by Kristina Trygg and Ida Grundel: This contribution focuses on the challenges faced by municipal planners in enabling city street experiments for sustainable urban transitions. The study analyses the planning practices and instruments used in Swedish municipalities and explores the fear of lock-ins associated with street experiments.
"Reclaiming public space: the case of Piazze Aperte, Milano" by Antonella Bruzzese: This research examines the "Piazze Aperte" program in Milan, which supports street reclamation interventions through tactical urbanism. The paper discusses citizen participation, temporary uses, and the effects of these street experiments on public administration practices.
"Street transformations and intra-neighbourhood equity: evidence from Barcelona superblocks" by Samuel Nello-Deakin: This study investigates the implications of Barcelona's superblock plan on intra-neighbourhood equity. It examines the distribution of traffic externalities between streets and explores qualitative perspectives through interviews with key actors.
"Street experiments for mobility and public life: empirical findings from London, Munich, and Bologna" by Enrica Papa and Emilia Smeds: This study presents empirical findings on street experiments implemented in London, Munich, and Bologna. It analyses citizens' perspectives on street experiments, their usage, and their perceived dimensions of value across mobility and public life.
"Street-level Experiments and Dissenting Publics: Marginalised Voices and Social Mobilisation related to LTNs in London" by Estelle Broyer, Claire Colomb, and Susan Moore: This contribution focuses on the conflicts and social tensions arising from the implementation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in London. It explores patterns of marginalization, social inequalities, and divisions that underpin the backlash against LTNs.
More details on each abstract can be found at https://event.fourwaves.com/rgs-ibgac2023/schedule?trackIds=1ea521b7-136b-4d5c-96d5-3da5a2018d06&date=2023-08-31
We hope to see you in London!