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Can We Change Processes in Our Cities? Reflections on the Role of Urban Mobility in Strengthening Sustainable Green Infrastructures

Carlos Smaniotto Costa
Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Department of Urban Planning, Portugal
Abstract—Urban mobility, the transport of people and goods, is on one hand essential for economic and social well-being but is on the other also a growing concern. Urban development faces today the challenge of making mobility sustainable in terms of environment (i.e. control emission, air pollution, noise, land take) and of competitiveness (i.e. price, time lost at congestions and journey time). Moreover, sustainability in urban development has to cope with a steady concern: it is increasingly space-intensive. At the same time, space is a finite resource and its claim for urban uses, e.g. for housing, work places, recreation, infrastructure and transport networks, puts increasing pressure on landscape and ecosystems. Considering urban mobility as a social responsibility in this paper the issues of transport and cars use in urban areas will be discussed against the concept of green infrastructure. Transport networks also shape settlement patterns and transform the landscape. More and more, land take for transport affects the natural environment, both functionally and morphologically, with far reaching effects also on the built environment. In turn, the quality of the built environment depends very much on the nourishing quality of the natural environment. Although these two aspects are part of the same process, they are usually not discussed and treated with the same concern and consideration. As cars need lots of space for use and storage, the paper also addresses as a major problem the mono-use of urban spaces, and on the basis of investigated examples demonstrate the scope of problem and viable solutions towards a green mobility. Green mobility impose minimal disturbance to the environment, sparing landscape and especially calls for public education to shift individual travel behaviour.

Index Terms—sustainable mobility, paradigm change, green infrastructure, urban landscape, green spaces, sense of places

Cite: Carlos Smaniotto Costa, "Can We Change Processes in Our Cities? Reflections on the Role of Urban Mobility in Strengthening Sustainable Green Infrastructures," Journal of Traffic and Logistics Engineering, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 146-155, June 2014. doi: 10.12720/jtle.2.2.146-155
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