1.76 - Sustainable Neighborhoods- Accessibility to Activities versus Personal Mobility Alternatives

Project Description

Over the past few decades, urban areas have faced significant challenges: air pollution, congestion, high energy consumption, climate change, shortage of resources, high population density, overcrowding, urban sprawl, lack of services and infrastructure, and other social and cultural factors, and negative impacts (economic, environmental, and social, among others.)

A broad consensus to overcome these problems focuses on sustainable urban development or smart growth. The resulting Smart City concept considers the technology available and forecasted, benefiting cities that can become more efficient by connecting their spaces and activities. Sustainable mobility promotion is central and essential to these assumptions. With the urgency for lowering carbonization as much as possible, sustainable mobility means avoiding car ownership, promoting mass transit, other shared, electric, and autonomous vehicles, and active mobility (walking and biking). Moreover, it means developing mobility solutions tailored to different needs but reducing car emissions and space consumption.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Sustainable Mobility earns a new highlight, both for people and goods movements. During lockdowns, urban neighborhoods need to be self-sufficient for daily goods and services and connect safely with others for accessing specific needs and facilities. The lockdown reveals that not only sustainable mobility but also accessibility plays a pivotal role in sustainable neighborhoods. The concepts like 15-minute city, 20- minute neighborhood, TOD, and Compact Streets are different ways to explain a neighborhood’s self-sustainability, namely in terms of mobility and accessibility to activities. The core of all these debates is creating vibrant, safe, and livable urban areas for citizens.

In this context, the main objective of this research is to develop comprehensive and integrated models for a sustainable neighborhood self-sufficient and connected to other neighborhoods to provide a vibrant, resilient, and safe neighborhood for all ages and abilities. Moreover, it will integrate and develop further the concepts of Complete Streets, New Urbanism, Traffic Calming, Mobility Management, Parking Management, Urban Logistics, Last-mile Delivery, and Smart Transportation Systems. The main point is transforming neighborhoods to be more user-friendly in the context of accessibility-based planning.

At the first stage, this research will collect factors dominant for sustainable neighborhoods based on well-known concepts through extensive literature review. Afterward, a multidisciplinary approach combining qualitative and quantitative methods will be conducted to develop sustainable neighborhood models. Coimbra and Delft as case studies will be chosen to validate the models. Optimistically, final models can have comprehensive applications worldwide.

Research team
  • Mehrnaz Zargarzadeh
  • Anabela Ribeiro (Supervisor)
Financial support
  • FCT: UI/BD/151031/2021

Stage of Progress
  • Started in 2021