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Reading List

City street experiments and system change: Identifying barriers and enablers to the transformative process

VanHoose, K.

 City street experiments continue to be employed as a tool to improve urban mobility and liveability. Despite growing popularity, understanding of this transformative process, and more specifically, the barriers and enablers that exist for street experiments aiming to cause system change, remains an important knowledge gap. By way of a systematic search and review of 17 empirical studies, barriers and enablers to the transformative process are identified. Enablers include embedding experiments in long-term policies including stakeholders, active promotion and institutional support. Barriers include those within the experiment’s control (a lack of required resources, unconducive design, lack of clear vision and low frequency) as well as those out of the experiment’s control (opposition from stakeholders and institutional regulations and processes). The relationships between these enablers and barriers are recounted, revealing concrete recommendations for experiment organizers as well as two dilemmas for consideration.

Available open access ↗

‘Seeing Like a Citizen’: Rethinking City Street Transformations through the Lens of Epistemic Justice

Smeds, E. and Verlinghieri E. (eds)

This Interface brings together five essays by scholars of spatial and transport planning, as two closely related but often siloed fields, that critically reflect on ongoing street transformations. This Introduction expands on two issues: first, why we think‘ seeing like a citizen ’ is currently undervalued in planning for streets, and second, what we mean by epistemic justice and how this concept differs from other ways of thinking about socially just planning.

Available open access ↗

The value of street experiments for mobility and public life: Citizens’ perspectives from three European cities

Smeds, E. and Papa, E.

This research explores citizens' views on 'street experiments' (SE) reallocating street space for public use, emphasizing mobility and public life dimensions. Covering London, Munich, and Bologna with 458 participants, it adopts an inductive and qualitative survey method. Findings reveal 10 SE value categories, spanning functional, social, safety, environmental, and economic aspects. Interestingly, citizens prioritize SE's impact on public life over active mobility benefits, enhancing streetscapes, facilitating stationary activities, and fostering social interaction. The study's framework and practitioner insights can guide more effective and inclusive SE interventions, informing urban design based on citizens' qualitative assessments.

Available open access ↗

The role of municipalities and their impact on the transitional capacity of city street experiments: Lessons from Ghent

VanHoose, K. and Bertolini, L


This paper investigates the role of municipalities in city street experiments aimed at transforming urban mobility. These experiments often face institutional barriers that limit their potential for bringing about significant changes. The study focuses on the municipality's involvement as a formal actor and a key participant in urban experimentation. It employs a theoretical framework with three ideal-typical roles: promoter, enabler, and partner. By analyzing the relationship between the municipality and the Living Streets program in Ghent, Belgium, the research explores how their collaboration affects the experiments' capacity for transition.

Available open access ↗

'Seeing Like a Citizen’: Rethinking City Street Transformations through the Lens of Epistemic Justice

Smeds, E. and Verlinghieri, E.

Not available open access

Un indice per progettare la città dei 15 minuti: Inclusive Accessibility by proximity index – IAPI, in Di.Te

Lanza G. and Carboni L. 


The paper presents IAPI - Inclusive Accessibility by proximity index, a tool to measure accessibility by proximity to essential neighbourhood services and its experimentation in Bologna.

Available open access ↗

The next 30 years: planning cities beyond mobility?

Bertolini, L.

The negative environmental, social and economic side-effects of the individual motorized transport-centred urban mobility planning paradigm have been repeatedly denounced. This paper discusses the shift from a motorized transport-centred urban mobility planning paradigm to a sustainable mobility-centred paradigm. It explores the emergence of an urban mobility planning paradigm that goes beyond mobility and focuses on diverse urban qualities. The paper reviews the reasons for moving away from mobility-centred planning, identifies the components of this new paradigm, and emphasizes the importance of an experimental and narrative-driven approach to harness its potential and address challenges. The paper provides a forward-looking perspective on the development, potential, and challenges of this emerging urban mobility planning paradigm.

Available open access ↗

Connecting people and places: Analysis of perceived pedestrian accessibility to railway stations by Bavarian case studies

Jehle, U., Coetzee, C., Büttner, B., Pajares, E., Wulfhorst, G.


This study investigates the factors influencing perceived pedestrian accessibility to railway stations beyond traditional measures. It identifies six quality criteria (directness, simplicity, traffic safety, security, comfort, and built environment) through a literature review and conducts surveys in five Bavarian towns in Germany. The results highlight the importance of comfort, safety, and security factors in determining whether people choose to walk to train stations. Significant differences are observed among different age groups and city sizes. The findings emphasize the need to consider non-measurable factors in assessing pedestrian accessibility and can contribute to better planning and conceptualization of pedestrian-friendly transportation systems.

Available open access ↗

Have A Good Trip! Expanding Our Concepts Of The Quality Of Everyday Travelling With Flow Theory

Te Brömmelstroet, M,, Nikolaeva, A., Cadima C, Verlinghieri, E., Ferreira, A., Mladenović, M., and Papa, E.

This article challenges the traditional perspective in transport planning that views travel as an economic disutility. It argues that being "on the move" can have positive implications for quality of life, well-being, and personal development. The article explores the potential of flow theory, based on Csikszentmihalyi's work on optimal states of consciousness, to shed light on achieving sustainable and satisfying daily mobility. Drawing on an online exploratory questionnaire, the article reflects on how different modes of mobility can either facilitate or constrain the occurrence of optimal states of consciousness. The preliminary conclusions suggest future research directions to better understand the relationship between mobility experiences and flow theory.

Available open access ↗

Misurare la accessibilità di prossimità. Uno strumento per progettare la mobilità attiva

Pucci, P., Lanza G., and Carboni, L.


Measuring the conditions to ensure accessibility by proximity by active modes to the neighbourhood services, is a relevant condition to achieve a 15-minute city model. The article introduces an index to support urban policies aimed at improving the quality of cycle-pedestrian paths and access to the neighbourhood services.

Urban streets: Epitomes of planning challenges and opportunities at the interface of public space and mobility

Von Schönfeld, K., and Bertolini, L.


This paper explores the evolving role of urban streets as both transportation corridors and public spaces accommodating various activities. It highlights the strain on urban streets caused by growing and diverse urban populations. The paper argues that current urban street planning often fails to integrate stationary and mobile functions and lacks a multidimensional perspective. To address these shortcomings, the authors propose a comprehensive approach drawing from planning regulation, transitions, and governance theories. Concrete examples are used to illustrate the challenges faced in urban streets. The paper calls for a more inclusive and thoughtful approach to urban planning that considers the multifaceted nature of urban streets and their significance in urban life.

Available open access ↗

From temporary arrangements to permanent change: Assessing the transitional capacity of city street experiments

VanHoose, K., Rivas de Gante, A., Bertolini, L., Kinigadner, J., and Büttner, B.


In response to acute urban mobility and livability challenges, city street experiments have emerged as a way to explore possible solutions for alternative futures. While the added value of these experiments to improve urban living conditions is widely acknowledged, their potential to stimulate larger system change remains unknown. This paper uses the defining characteristics of transition experiments and a multi-level perspective of transitions in order to assess the transitional capacity of city street experiments. We devise an assessment framework to systematically assess six case studies in Amsterdam and Munich, revealing emerging patterns of experimentation within urban mobility systems.

Available open access ↗

From “streets for traffic” to “streets for people”: can street experiments transform urban mobility?

Bertolini, L.

This paper addresses the lack of research on the transformative potential of experiments aiming to create "streets for people." It explores different types of city street experiments and their impacts on urban mobility. The experiments are categorized based on increasing complexity, ranging from re-marking streets to repurposing entire streets. Examples include intersection repairs, parklets, and play streets. The literature review highlights positive impacts on physical activity, active transportation, safety, and social interaction. However, the potential of these experiments to trigger systemic change in urban mobility remains uncertain. The paper develops a framework based on transition experiments to assess their transformative potential and proposes a research and policy agenda in this area.

Available open access ↗

More than walking and cycling: What is ‘active travel’?

Cook, S., Stevenson, L., Aldred, R., Kendall, M., and Cohen, T.

This paper examines the concept of "active travel" and its implications for research and policy. The authors begin with a systematic review of active travel research, noting a tendency to focus primarily on walking and cycling. They propose expanding the definition of active travel to include other modes of travel that involve sustained physical exertion, such as running, kick scooting, skateboarding, and wheelchair use. Through a thematic review, they explore six key themes related to these wider active modes, including emergence, fun, inclusivity, safety, regulation, and design. The paper concludes by discussing the potential implications of this expanded definition for policy, practice, and transport-related research. The authors argue that embracing a broader notion of active travel has significant benefits and should be incorporated more comprehensively within the field of transport studies.

Available open access ↗

Un indice per misurare la accessibilità di prossimità

Pucci P., Lanza G., and Carboni L. 

IAPI (Inclusive Accessibility by Proximity Index) is a GIS-based accessibility assessment tool developed within the EX-TRA project for measuring and visualizing accessibility levels to essential daily services based on both the conditions favouring/disfavoring walkability, cyclability, and social interactions. Its implementation in Bologna allows both to map the quality of cycle-pedestrian paths, to evaluate the accessibility via active modes to the main neighbourhood services, and to assess the effect of micro interventions aimed at improving walkability, and cyclability at the micro scale. Due to the ease of calculation and the possibility of updating indicators, coefficients, and the ability to create new potential user profiles, the visualization of IAPI results contributes to the construction of multi-sector and multi-scale mobility policies.

Accessibilità di prossimità per una città più equa. Sperimentazione in un quartiere di Milano

Pucci P., Carboni L. and Lanza G.

The paper describes the preliminary results of a research aimed at implementing an accessibility by proximity index (iapi) to orient measures for improving the supply and access to essential daily services at the neighborhood scale. Within a theoretical framework that recognizes the role of accessibility as a necessary condition to guarantee participation and social inclusion, the paper proposes an index of accessibility by proximity based on the principle of ʻbasic accessibilityʼ (Martens, 2017) and describes the results of the experimentation in Crescenzago neighborhood in Milan, and the future research developments.

Addressing the unjust treatment of pedestrians at signalised intersections

Cohen, T. and Almarwani, M.

The reasons why pedestrians wait longer than other categories of road user at signalised intersections are investigated. On the basis of literature review, tests of relevant software, interviews with practitioners and reviews of international exemplars, practice is found to be centred on keeping the (vehicular) traffic moving, and practitioners hindered from altering their approach by a lack of relevant data and by design tools that reflect a historical emphasis on facilitating motorised traffic. The scope for change is explored through the presentation of an argument from first principles for greater equality. Given that forcing equal waiting times would probably cause unacceptable levels of disruption, alternatives are discussed that would deliver a fairer distribution within the constraint of maintaining flow on the network. The possibility of seeking equality of waiting times across an area such as a town is identified as a potentially promising way forward.

Available open access ↗

Learning for transition: an experiential learning strategy for urban experiments.

Beukers, E. and Bertolini, L. 


This article identified three shortcomings in learning through experimentation: (1) lack of an explicit strategy for learning for transitions through experiments; (2) lack of monitoring whether and how learning and transitions take place; and (3) lack of maintaining attention for learning throughout the whole process of experimentation for urban change..

Available open access ↗

Fostering learning beyond urban experiment boundaries

Beukers, E. and Bertolini, L. 


This article examines lessons learned about how to foster learning beyond the experiment boundaries for transition through urban experiments. The synthesized strategy for learning appeared to help foster learning for unstable groups of participants with diverse backgrounds, who are more or less loosely involved but possibly can broaden or scale up the lessons learned.

Available open access ↗

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