1.58 - Mobility and urbanity. The role of spatial planning in the promotion of a sustainable urban mobility

Project Description

Mobility and urbanity have shaped each other, leading to a gradual reconfiguration of cities, particularly in the last hundred years. In a new territory, of an extensive and fragmented urbanization, motorized transport has enabled the restoration of density and diversity that are major defining urban characteristics. However, the resulting increase in travel volume and a greater dependence on the motor engine has led to significant environmental and social costs. Consequently, it has emerged a dilemma difficult to resolve: how to reconcile the role of motorized mobility, in the wealth and well-being of urban societies, with sustainable practices?

There are enormous expectations in a new generation of cities, based on smart systems and on a green mobility. However, the reduction of the negative impact of mobility, in urban areas, necessarily implies an action on the territory, to ensure the reduction of the transport volume and the dependence on the private car. This should be possible through a better optimization of the spatial distribution of population and activities, in conjunction with transport systems. This means that mobility cannot be considered disconnected from the project of the city itself, and vice versa.

However, it seems that urban planning has not considered, at least consistently, this challenge. The question that arises is how city plans have been promoting a more sustainable transport and have been handling the relation between mobility and urbanity? Comparing several European cases, the research seeks therefore to identify strategies and policies that are relevant to the issue, analyse the consistency of those land use plans and confront different approaches.

The research may contribute to the improvement of planning policies and urban ordinances - putting forward a set of proposals to improve land use plans, reviewing content and proposing regulatory innovations - with the goal of promoting a planning practice that supports and urges a more sustainable urban transport as well as more vibrant and healthier communities. 

Research Team
  • Paulo Silvestre Ferreira
  • Paulo Pinho (Supervisor)
  • Vítor Oliveira (co-supervisor)
Financial Support
  • PhD Scholarship from FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, reference SFRH/BD/131174/2017 
Stage of Progress
  • To be finished February 2020