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The difference between data and wisdom: Smart cities have a lot to learn

Tue, 2014-07-01 23:29

While cities like São Paulo, Brazil, are expanding the technology available to city leaders, good governance remains pivotal to creating a truly ‘smart’ city. Photo by Mariana Gil/EMBARQ Brazil.

This article reports on presentations made by Philip Yang, President, URBEM (Urbanism and Urban Studies Institute for the city of Sao Paulo), Jianming Cai, Professor at the Institute of Geographic Sciences & Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Alexandros Washburn Founding Director, Center for Coastal Resilience and Urban eXcellence (CRUX) at Stevens Institute of Technology at a panel organized by the Wilson Center.

We live in a world where cars can fold into themselves and may soon be levitating. However, this rapid pace of innovation in the automotive sector is not yet crossing over to cities at large. Cities are traditionally slow and resistant to change. They are complex, interconnected systems, whereas technology is best at solving discrete problems. While smart cities might be covered in sensors that give city leaders a lot of data, ultimately it is people that make decisions, and ultimately ineffective governance structures and human judgment that needs to improve.

Or so says Philip Yang, the President of the Urbanism and Urban Studies Institute (URBEM) in São Paulo, Brazil, as he explores the myriad factors making it increasingly difficult to confront the challenges facing today’s cities. Cities are growing ever larger and more spread out, changing faster than regulation can handle, and are increasingly unequal. But the picture Yang, together with his colleagues Prof. Jianming Cai, and Alexandros Washburn described at a recent panel on the “Dawn of the Smart City” is one that is urgent but not unhopeful.

The key to building wisdom into these so-called smart cities entails tackling problems at scale, asking tough questions about the services cities need to provide residents, and concentrating on fixing the difficult, human dimension of metropolises.

Bigger, wider, faster, further apart: Defining the problem

As cities grow, challenges that were once swept under the rug are becoming magnified. With the global urban population hitting 6 people billion by 2050, and 10 billion by 2100, this means that changing the way we build cities will become that much harder. Poor planning practices will become more widespread and more engrained into urban development as more land will be urbanized in the first three decades of the 21st century that in all of mankind’s past.

Economic trends are also shifting faster than cities can plan for, as cities are rapidly de-industrializing and re-industrializing faster than zoning codes are updated. This means cities are being built that don’t meet the need of their residents. Added to this, cities are aggregation mechanisms: they aggregate wealth as well as poverty, which means that it is harder than ever for city leaders to work together towards solutions as people’s interests move further apart.

Problems and solutions at scale

All of these different challenges can only be solved if planners define these problems at the right scale. Today’s cities influence the region around them, meaning that policy divides between city and suburb are likely to have far-reaching impacts. As Yang noted, one municipality within São Paulo houses 10% of Brazil’s GDP. Changes things like transport options, urban development densities, and carbon emissions policies will all have repercussions that will ripple throughout the entire region.

As Yang delved into how to define the problems facing cities, his colleague Prof. Jianming Cai, from the Institute of Geographic Sciences & Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR), spoke about the necessity of knowing the solution. This means consciously defining that a city should be economically productive – both for its inhabitants and the nation – inclusive, well-governed, and healthy for inhabitants and the planet. Without defining success, achieving it is impossible.

Finally, Alexandros Washburn from the Center for Coastal Resilience and Urban eXcellence (CRUX), highlighted that a successful smart city will owe far more of its success to good governance than to new gadgetry. This good governance will not focus on putting lots of sensors on roads or lampposts, but on using technology to integrate public participation into decision making in ways that in the past would have been prohibitively slow.

This participant-based decision process will be increasingly helpful for cities to successfully react to escalating challenges, from the size of parks and buildings to the size of tsunamis and tornados. In such crisis situations – growing more common with the rise of extreme weather due to climate change – it is great to have residents with phones that can track wind speed. It is even better to have an online portal to share this information. But really, in these situations, the smartest cities will have leaders with a solid plan that they can successfully execute to get their residents to safety.

Public transport and the informal sector: Competing visions of Bogotá’s future

Thu, 2014-06-26 21:17

The people in Bogota’s informal sector and the city government have clashing visions of how informal commerce should play out on public transport and in public spaces. Photo by Nathan Gibbs/Flickr.

There is an entire ecosystem of informal commerce along Bogotá, Colombia’s streets. Some vendors sit at traffic signals or bus stops, waiting for a bus that’s not too full and not too empty. When they spot a good candidate, they expertly hop on, sometimes slipping through closing doors or onto an already moving vehicle. Once securely on board, they are much like actors on stage as they hawk their products, which range from fruit and cell phone minutes to toys and toothbrushes. They repeat this process 30 to 40 times per day.

Meanwhile, outside on the city’s streets, other informal vendors flock to places where foot traffic is high, or cluster around transport hubs. Between 120,000 –150,000 vendors thrive on the ebb and flow of pedestrians and public transport passengers, catching people as they board the bus or leave work.

The presence of this informal economy has become a regular part of bogotanos’ public transport experience. However, Bogotá, like many cities in the global South, is pushing forward on its path to economic development, a path that requires providing attractive transport options and welcoming public spaces. The city must weigh the comfort of citizens and the orderliness of public spaces against the livelihoods of informal vendors. Urban policy and design must offer solutions that serve the city’s development without disenfranchising communities reliant on informal economies.

Increased regulation gains support

Currently, it appears that momentum is with the regulators. With the creation of the city’s modernized Integrated System of Public Transport (SITP) in 2011, vending was banned from formal public transportation. This was accompanied by similar pushes to restrict street hawking and “walking vendors” in the city. In the locality of Chapinero, 99 municipal operations were implemented in 2013 to remove vendors from the streets, an average of nearly two per week. Vendors, according to Jorge Ceballos, the head of the city’s Institute for Social Economy, should be moved to established markets and out of other public spaces.

The city’s concerns about informal vendors on public transport and in public spaces are numerous. Many transport passengers consider the hawkers a nuisance. Commuters across the globe point to comfort as a key factor in their transport decisions, and cities have an imperative to make public transport as attractive as possible in order to increase ridership. If riders feel uncomfortable or harried when they ride the bus or train, they may opt for different modes of transport, to the detriment of transport systems and vendors alike.

Scholar Michael Donovan points out that “such economic activity creates serious problems for city management, such as sales tax evasion, the obstruction of pedestrian mobility, litter, and the diminishment of the city’s image.” Vendors are accused of being associated with criminals and being a risk to consumers. Former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa even stated that “vendors on sidewalks are a sign of lack of respect for the human dignity of pedestrians.”

An increasingly narrow path to economic opportunity

While current planning trends promote banning vendors from transport and public spaces in the name of creating more welcoming public spaces, these exclusionary policies have far-reaching consequences for the livelihoods of the vendors and the economic vibrancy of cities.

Although street vendors are certainly visible in public spaces, they are rendered invisible in official economic statistics. Despite this, in Bogotá, an estimated 59% of workers are in the informal sector and the number of street vendors has increased from 220,000 in 1996 to 558,000 in 2005. Furthermore, a study from the Center for Development Research of the National University of Colombia found that 4,000 vendors and informal performers frequented the city’s bus lines before the switch to the SITP. With the introduction of the SITP, 90% of these informal workers guessed that they would soon become unemployed.

While the impacts of these recent policy changes remain to be fully assessed, city leaders must evaluate them not only in terms of “increased comfort,” but also economic impact, access to goods and services, and impact on livelihoods. Most vendors lack an easy path to more formal employment, and will likely fall further down the economic ladder. Many will continue to sell their goods, legally or not. Forcing vendors deeper into criminality could create even more problems for citizens in public space.

Bogotá wants to keep its sidewalks and parks free for pedestrians and the aisles of its buses free for riders, yet it knows that pushing these vendors out of sight could create a problem bigger than such measures would solve. The voice of all stakeholders, including street vendors, must be heard when framing policy or urban design solutions. Cities worldwide, from Buenos Aires to Mumbai and Amman to Cairo, are facing the same dilemma. Many of these cities are taking new approaches to integrate and regulate informal commerce, efforts that can spur socially and economically sustainable development for Bogotá and other cities of the global South.

Public transport and the informal sector: Competing visions of Bogotá’s future

Thu, 2014-06-26 21:17

The people in Bogota’s informal sector and the city government have clashing visions of how informal commerce should play out on public transport and in public spaces. Photo by Nathan Gibbs/Flickr.

There is an entire ecosystem of informal commerce along Bogotá, Colombia’s streets. Some vendors sit at traffic signals or bus stops, waiting for a bus that’s not too full and not too empty. When they spot a good candidate, they expertly hop on, sometimes slipping through closing doors or onto an already moving vehicle. Once securely on board, they are much like actors on stage as they hawk their products, which range from fruit and cell phone minutes to toys and toothbrushes. They repeat this process 30 to 40 times per day.

Meanwhile, outside on the city’s streets, other informal vendors flock to places where foot traffic is high, or cluster around transport hubs. Between 120,000 –150,000 vendors thrive on the ebb and flow of pedestrians and public transport passengers, catching people as they board the bus or leave work.

The presence of this informal economy has become a regular part of bogotanos’ public transport experience. However, Bogotá, like many cities in the global South, is pushing forward on its path to economic development, a path that requires providing attractive transport options and welcoming public spaces. The city must weigh the comfort of citizens and the orderliness of public spaces against the livelihoods of informal vendors. Urban policy and design must offer solutions that serve the city’s development without disenfranchising communities reliant on informal economies.

Increased regulation gains support

Currently, it appears that momentum is with the regulators. With the creation of the city’s modernized Integrated System of Public Transport (SITP) in 2011, vending was banned from formal public transportation. This was accompanied by similar pushes to restrict street hawking and “walking vendors” in the city. In the locality of Chapinero, 99 municipal operations were implemented in 2013 to remove vendors from the streets, an average of nearly two per week. Vendors, according to Jorge Ceballos, the head of the city’s Institute for Social Economy, should be moved to established markets and out of other public spaces.

The city’s concerns about informal vendors on public transport and in public spaces are numerous. Many transport passengers consider the hawkers a nuisance. Commuters across the globe point to comfort as a key factor in their transport decisions, and cities have an imperative to make public transport as attractive as possible in order to increase ridership. If riders feel uncomfortable or harried when they ride the bus or train, they may opt for different modes of transport, to the detriment of transport systems and vendors alike.

Scholar Michael Donovan points out that “such economic activity creates serious problems for city management, such as sales tax evasion, the obstruction of pedestrian mobility, litter, and the diminishment of the city’s image.” Vendors are accused of being associated with criminals and being a risk to consumers. Former Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa even stated that “vendors on sidewalks are a sign of lack of respect for the human dignity of pedestrians.”

An increasingly narrow path to economic opportunity

While current planning trends promote banning vendors from transport and public spaces in the name of creating more welcoming public spaces, these exclusionary policies have far-reaching consequences for the livelihoods of the vendors and the economic vibrancy of cities.

Although street vendors are certainly visible in public spaces, they are rendered invisible in official economic statistics. Despite this, in Bogotá, an estimated 59% of workers are in the informal sector and the number of street vendors has increased from 220,000 in 1996 to 558,000 in 2005. Furthermore, a study from the Center for Development Research of the National University of Colombia found that 4,000 vendors and informal performers frequented the city’s bus lines before the switch to the SITP. With the introduction of the SITP, 90% of these informal workers guessed that they would soon become unemployed.

While the impacts of these recent policy changes remain to be fully assessed, city leaders must evaluate them not only in terms of “increased comfort,” but also economic impact, access to goods and services, and impact on livelihoods. Most vendors lack an easy path to more formal employment, and will likely fall further down the economic ladder. Many will continue to sell their goods, legally or not. Forcing vendors deeper into criminality could create even more problems for citizens in public space.

Bogotá wants to keep its sidewalks and parks free for pedestrians and the aisles of its buses free for riders, yet it knows that pushing these vendors out of sight could create a problem bigger than such measures would solve. The voice of all stakeholders, including street vendors, must be heard when framing policy or urban design solutions. Cities worldwide, from Buenos Aires to Mumbai and Amman to Cairo, are facing the same dilemma. Many of these cities are taking new approaches to integrate and regulate informal commerce, efforts that can spur socially and economically sustainable development for Bogotá and other cities of the global South.

Urbanism Hall of Fame: Jan Gehl integrates humanity into urban design

Wed, 2014-06-18 21:07

Copenhagen, Denmark, is welcoming for both pedestrians and bicyclists because of the people-centered urban design principles that Jan Gehl spearheaded. Photo by Justin Swan/Flickr.

This is the fourth entry in the Urbanism Hall of Fame series, exclusive to TheCityFix. This series is intended to inform people about the leading paradigms surrounding sustainable transport and urban planning and the thinkers behind them. By presenting their many stories, TheCityFix seeks to challenge our readers to think carefully about what defines leadership and innovation in sustainable transport and urban development.

Jan Gehl was originally trained in modernist architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, but his wife, a psychologist, questioned him about the lack of interest architects had in designing buildings for people. Her questions pushed his work in a new direction of building for human needs; in this new direction Gehl has been a driving force in making Copenhagen a walkable, bike-friendly city, and has forever changed the way architects and planners perceive the public realm.

“Life Between Buildings” creates a new theory of urban space  

Building upon the work of pioneers like Jane Jacobs, William Whyte, Oscar Newman and Christopher Alexander, Gehl developed the theory of human-centered urbanism, as well as a process to incorporate the principles of this ideology into urban design.  Gehl’s ideas helped transform the notion of vibrant public spaces as being created by luck into a quality that can be actively fostered through good design.

To come up with the priniples of human-centered urbanism, Gehl spent months documenting where and how people walked, stood, sat, and talked in places, and defining what attributes about the spaces prompted this activity. The success of public spaces, Gehl found, was intricately connected to the levels of pedestrian flow and stationary activity that prompted social interaction. Gehl found that short distances between destinations complemented by street furniture like benches encourage people to linger. He found that “soft edges” between parks and public areas, especially places where people could sit and face the pedestrian flows, created some of the most vibrant areas of the city. These observations turned into his seminal 1971 book “Life Between Buildings”.

Jan Gehl has traveled across the world to give lectures to urban planners and city leaders about the potential of people-centered building to radically alter cities for the better. Photo by Gene Driskell/Flickr.

Recreating a vibrant Copenhagen

Copenhagen in the 1970’s was modernizing with an increasingly car-centric mentality. Gehl was pivotal in turning around this motorization trend, creating extensive “car free zones,” including the Strøget, the world’s longest pedestrian street. Since the 1970’s, 18 parking lots have been converted into public spaces, while 7,500 café seats now provide ample room for people to mingle.

Today, the transport infrastructure of the city is decidedly human-centric, with 50% of all Copenhageners commuting to work or school by bike, including 63% of the Danish parliament. Sustainable mobility has become the norm across demographics. Even 25% of families with children, who might opt for minivans in other countries, instead opt for cargo bikes in the Netherlands because they perceive it to be equally as safe as a car.

Global influence

Gehl’s influence on the structure of cities has expanded far past Copenhagen, both directly through the work of the architectural and design firm that bears his name and through the influence of his ideas. In his own work, Gehl has served as a consultant to city councils and city planning departments across Europe, North America, Australia, Japan, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. He has helped former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the creation of the city’s Transport Plan and collaborated with the city of Istanbul and EMBARQ Turkey to prepare a comprehensive plan for the pedestrianization of Istanbul’s historic peninsula.

Gehl’s published works include “Cities for People” (1971), “Public spaces—Public Life” (1996), and “New City Life” (2006). In these books, Gehl details several  design principles that incorporate the human dimension. He stresses the importance of mixed use and active streets “at the human eye level” promoting bustling streets and in turn better neighborhood safety around the clock. Gehl notes the need for shared spaces, which prioritize pedestrian activity while still promoting bicycling and public transport. Within every facet of his work, Gehl describes the need for resource management and health to be engrained in design, from neighborhood plaza to citywide transport networks.

Within his piece “Ten principles of sustainable transport”, produced jointly by ITDP and Gehl Architects, Gehl shares many insights on how mobility impacts the ebbs and flows of the city. He offers specific design recommendations: connected and small blocks, direct paths, permeable buildings, ample greenery. He also shares larger recommendations for the overall goals of cities.

A central tenet of sustainability is to build for the long term, for truly sustainable cities sustain the needs of many generations. They are memorable, malleable, built from quality materials, and well maintained. If done right, Gehl insists that there is nothing in the world more affordable in the long term than building cities that provide better for people. Both the cities which Gehl has directly influenced, as well as the planners that have embraced his fervor to create close-knit, walkable communities for generations to come, argue in the simultaneous beauty and enduring value of their creations the need to create human-oriented cities.

For more on the influence of Gehl’s ideas and building cities for people – not cars – check out TheCityFix’s own People-oriented Cities series.

Mobility and mood: Does your commute make you happy?

Wed, 2014-06-18 02:00

In a new study on the connection between mood and transport, bicyclists were found to be the happiest, giving one more reason to choose sustainable mobility. Photo by Onny Carr/Flickr.

There is a complex connection between the environments we inhabit and the way we feel. For instance, urban physicists have studied how rain and wind influence walking patterns, environmental psychologists have researched how the presence of nature influences well-being, and urban designers have studied how street design can create safety and social closeness.

But, until earlier this month, people only had a hazy, individual idea of how they felt while using different mobility modes. Now, Eric Morris from Clemson University and Erick Guerra from the University of Pennsylvania have published a study in the journal Transportation entitled “Mood and Mode: Does how we travel affect how we feel?”. The study looks at how levels of stress, fatigue, pain, and happiness vary across users of different transport types.

While their research has found some important connections between biking and happiness, the true strength of this approach is that it rests as a foundation for city leaders to ask bold new questions about the relationship between the built environment and quality of life.

Bicycling brings happiness

Morris and Guerra used data collected by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of the American Time Use Survey, pulling from 13,000 respondents. The transport modes included in the survey were bicycling, walking, driving in a car as a passenger, driving in a car as a driver, and using bus and rail transport.

The data revealed that those who bike are by far the happiest, with passengers in cars second, followed by drivers in cars. Passengers on buses and trains ranked as the least happy.

The conclusions for bicycling are clear: cyclists tend to be happier than people who use other means of transport. This finding is good news for bike advocates and city planners, for along with the environmental and health benefits often cited as reasons to bike, adding happiness to the list is powerful. It also seems to be a simple conclusion, for physical activity releases serotonin, the “happiness hormone.” Yet, Morris called for caution in fully trusting these initial results, as “bicyclists are generally younger and physically healthy, which are traits that happier people usually possess.” So, while cyclists might be the happiest travelers, it isn’t yet clear that they are happy solely because they’re biking.

Changing the course for transport investment

Although further research is necessary to develop a clearer sense of precisely how mobility options influence emotion, the potential for what this might mean for transport investment is already exciting. Said Morris: “Understanding the relationship between how we travel and how we feel offers insight into ways of improving existing transportation services, prioritizing investments and theorizing and modeling the costs and benefits of travel.”

Improving the emotional experience of how people move might be as important as investing in traditional infrastructure or traditional advocacy campaigns to get people to choose sustainable transport. If it were possible to redesign the experience of bus travel to make it as pleasurable as driving, would it be possible to entice those still adamant about car transport? If it were possible to chart a route in Google Maps that gives not the quickest but the most enjoyable trip, would it radically alter mobility patterns?

For now, these are simply questions. But exploring the link between mood and transport encourages a shift in how we build our cities, moving from traditional ideas of passenger flows and route times as the markers of a successful transport system, to a much more nuanced and holistic conception of success that incorporates user experience and enjoyment.

This article is inspired by TheCityFix Brasil’s “Pedalar para ser feliz no trânsito” by Priscila Kichler Pacheco.

Peninsulas and public spaces: The pedestrianization of Istanbul

Tue, 2014-06-17 01:36

The pedestrianization project in the Historic Peninsula of Istanbul, Turkey, has created vibrant thoroughfares that has allowed the city to compromise between preserving culture and meeting the mobility needs of its growing populace. Photo by Gulsen Oczan/Flickr.

Istanbul, Turkey, has stood at the center of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire and the Ottoman Empire. It has acted as a central hub of political history and artistic creation for some 20 centuries, with remnants of the city dating as far back as the 7th millennium BC. Its place as a nexus of diverse cultures and eras has added incredible richness and depth to the architecture of the city. Yet, as more people have sought to live in the city congestion has crippled movement and threatened residents’ quality of life. The city sought an urban development solution that could simultaneously meet the needs of current residents while maintaining the rich culture of the city.

In 2010 a group of stakeholders including EMBARQ (the producer of this blog) and the architecture practice Gehl Architects, along with Istanbul’s Fatih Municipality, and UNESCO, proposed a pedestrianization project to expand sustainable mobility and create a more accessible area in Istanbul’s Historic Peninsula. In January 2011 their efforts culminated in a significant street closure within the majority of the peninsula, with the goal of creating a safer, low emission zone.

But Gehl Architects and EMBARQ Turkey did not want to stop at reshaping the peninsula. They wanted to quantify the impacts of the redevelopment on public life within the peninsula, both to better understand the urban design principles underpinning vibrant places, and to help develop guidelines for other cities around the globe that are simultaneously grappling with creating vibrant urban spaces while preserving cultural heritage.

The hidden benefits of public spaces

EMBARQ Turkey and Gehl Architects chose to help the city through a pedestrianization project because they knew that walkable spaces have multiple co-benefits, and that Istanbul could be an iconic city inspiring other cities around the world. There are numerous benefits to returning city streets to pedestrians: improving public health by providing opportunities for physical activity while improving traffic safety, decreasing the number of cars on the road, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. When done in partnership with local businesses, pedestrianization – as see in New York City’s Time Square – can increase foot traffic and benefit business, helping build thriving and prosperous urban communities. These changes combine to create cities that provide a sustainable, high-quality life for urban residents.

Reports such as “Istanbul: An Accessible City” documented the challenges EMBARQ Turkey and Gehl Architects would face in pedestrianizing the peninsula. For example, places like the Galata bridge saw 105,260 cars pass through it each day, and the majority of this traffic needed to be converted into walking, biking, and boat travel. Since 2011, Istanbul’s Fatih Municipality has pedestrianized 295 streets throughout the historic peninsula – the area between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara. 2.5 million people have been impacted by the project, and it was vital for the city to understand whether this pedestrianization has been a positive impact or not.

Safety and sustainability: the many components of pedestrian access

To meet this need for research on the impacts of the project, EMBARQ Turkey released a study, entitled “The Istanbul Historic Peninsula Pedestrianization Project” that found an 80% approval rate from the students, residents, and local businesses in the Historic Peninsula. The study also found an increased feeling of safety around local businesses. The perception of safety is vital for local businesses seeking customers, since people who feel safe are likely to linger longer in these areas, which might prompt more purchasing.

Changes in Traffic Safety as perceived by local businesses

Perception of safety around local businesses has increased across the peninsula. Graphic from EMBARQ Turkey.

55% of people think the initiative has increased the accessibility by foot to other transport modes. These new connections to trains, ferries, buses, and bikes create more opportunities to get jobs and education, and more dynamism within the city itself.

The pedestrianized streets led to a strong perception that streets are safer from traffic crashes (76% of the respondents). The project also impacted aspects of the city unrelated to transport, with residents feeling that the pedestrianization of the peninsula’s roads increased the visual quality of surrounding areas by 58% and strengthened the attractiveness of historic buildings by 56%. Residents noted an impact on the day-to-day experience in the neighbourhoods, as fewer cars used meant less noise, and fewer carbon emissions. Levels of trash on the streets, with more people on the streets, remained unchanged.

The pedestrianization effort has so far been focused on the Historic Peninsula district of Istanbul. While other municipalities of the Turkish capital have similar plans, they have not yet materialized. With the data from the Historic Peninsula and the public support monitored in the survey, the hope is for other municipalities and also for world cities to embrace approaches that place people at the center of the city’s development. For now, walking the Historic Peninsula shows the pride the people of Istanbul have quickly grown for this place, and the potential for the city as a whole to embrace people-oriented mobility for a more sustainable, liveable future.

People-oriented Cities: Three keys to quality public transport

Wed, 2014-06-11 21:33
Quality, user-friendly public transport systems provide a viable alternative to the private car and help build livable, accessible cities. Photo by Alejandro Luna/EMBARQ Mexico.

The “People-oriented Cities” series – exclusive to TheCityFix and Insights – is an exploration of how cities can grow to become more sustainable and livable through transit-oriented development (TOD). The nine-part series will address different urban design techniques and trends that reorient cities around people rather than cars.

Transport is inherently linked to urban development. The viability of transport systems relies on densely populated neighborhoods that allow for more convenient trips between urban communities. Despite this, relatively little effort is put into designing cities around transport systems, often the result of disjointed transport and urban planning practices in developing cities. Despite this, the role of urban design is to make public transport not just viable, but effective in its implementation.

The human cost of disconnected cities: A cautionary tale

Mexico is one such country that has struggled to develop land patterns in a way that supports mass transport systems. According estimates from SEDESOL, the urban population in Mexico has doubled in the past 30 years while urban land areas have expanded sevenfold in the same time. So-called “urban” housing developments tend to be built far from the actual urban footprint. This is then compounded by low density in new developments. As a result, the cost of transport infrastructure – which has to cover much greater distances – increases dramatically.

Transport services in these sprawling areas are then unable to deliver on quality and accessibility. These systems are poorly maintained – or not maintained at all; routes, fees, and schedules are irregular; stops are spread out and disconnected from the city center; and public transport infrastructure is poorly designed, creating significant delays and increasing the risk of traffic crashes.

These poor design choices disproportionately impact the most disadvantaged segments of society. For instance, poor residents living on the urban fringe of Mexico City have restricted access to jobs and commercial hubs, forcing many to spend 30% of their monthly incomes on transport. Sprawling urban development creates a culture where the rich have no choice but to travel by car while the poor aspire to car ownership.

Transit-oriented development can reverse these trends, rebuilding cities and transport systems around the needs of people and communities.

The capacity of public transport services should be designed according to the population density of the corridor they serve. While low-demand bus services can meet their users’ basic mobility needs, mass transport services are more environmentally and economically efficient and more user-friendly. Image by EMBARQ.

Three key elements of urban design support quality public transport, and can help cities move towards a transit-oriented development model. City leaders must reshape the roadways connecting communities within cities; create density around public transport to fuel demand; and design facilities that ensure safe and user-friendly transport systems.

1. Bring communities closer through transport

 In order to increase access to public transport, urban communities must connect to one another. This means that cities cannot depend entirely on regional, high-speed, car-oriented roads (like federal or state highways). These roads are typically not viable for public transport, and they create both physical and social divisions between communities.

Roads in urban communities should be integrated into existing structures and neighborhoods. The majority of these roads should be local roads that connect to larger, high capacity corridors with frequent public transport services.

2. Keep cities compact

 To make quality public transport viable, cities must develop in such a way that fosters demand for public transport services. This means creating more compact neighborhoods and encouraging higher building density and mixed land use. Most unsubsidized public transport services can operate with densities of 20 residences per acre that are within half a mile (0.8 km) of transport hubs.

Cities can create demand for public transport by encouraging density and mixed land uses through urban codes and zoning regulations. Fostering the development of multi-family residences, public service facilities, commercial ground floors, and mixed-use buildings around transport hubs can increase the number of trips taken along the corridor.

Furthermore, connecting to public transport stops to pedestrian and cycling infrastructure provides residents access to the rest of their city via a 15-minute walk or a 5-minute bike ride, increasing physical activity while solving the problem of last-mile connectivity.

3. Design transport around people

 Neighborhood design can support public transport systems while acting as a catalyst for more cohesive and sustainable urban communities. Street design must accommodate transport needs like where to locate stops – but it also must be safe and accessible for all populations. This can be achieved through the following urban design strategies:

Streets and roadways can support safe access to transport for pedestrians, if designed correctly. Image by EMBARQ.

  • All main roads should have a right-of-way for public transportation, preferably with dedicated lanes.
  • All public transport lanes must have a minimum width of 3.5 meters, with clear road markings identifying its separation from general traffic.
  • Public transport stops should be sheltered, with clear signage, and should provide up-to-date route information. They should also have lighting, seating, and a wide sidewalk space to minimize interference with pedestrian walkways.

These design principles, combined with high densities and connected cities, can create public transport systems that are accessible and attractive for people and financially viable for cities. Now is the time for transport planners in developing cities to recognize the link between urban development and sustainable transport. Just as city planners have embraced people-oriented cities, transport planners must embrace people-oriented transport as a win-win strategy for sustainable urban development.

Stay tuned for the next entry in the “People-oriented Cities” series, which will address the role of non-motorized mobility in effective transit-oriented development. For more on the transit-oriented development paradigm, download EMBARQ’s Transit-oriented Development Guide for Urban Communities.

Planning for climate change and the urban future

Wed, 2014-06-11 00:04

New York City, like many cities around the globe, is reshaping the design of its waterfront to be increasingly resilient to rising sea levels and an unpredictable climate. Photo by Stefan Georgi/Flickr.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and ICLEI, the largest worldwide association of local governments, released a study last week showing how climate change has become a priority for cities across the globe. Entitled the “Urban Climate Change Governance Survey,” the study was based on a survey of 69 questions conducted in 350 cities to get a sense of the key priorities and implementation strategies at play to reduce emissions and increase overall resilience. The survey found that 75% of cities now see climate change as an essential element in their overall urban planning strategies. This is crucial, given that cities accounted for over 70% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as recently as 2008. Read on to learn more about what cities are doing to tackle climate change, and where they’re falling short.

The importance of data and the necessity of collaboration

The recent survey shows that actionable data is a pivotal component in fully assessing the impacts of climate change. Cities realize this, and now 85% of cities have a local inventory of GHG emissions. Still, only 15% of cities invest in controlling emissions resulting from the consumption of goods and services in the city, even if they have data showing that they need to act. This means that although collecting data is a pivotal component in pushing forward climate change policies, it is not enough.

There is also an important difference in whether cities decide to pursue mainly mitigation – curbing their contributions to global climate change – or adaptation – planning for the impacts of climate change – strategies. In the United States, mitigation policies account for 41% of the climate change planning agenda, whereas Australian cities are pursuing largely adaptation-oriented goals. These regional differences show that climate change is likely to impact cities differently, but such wide disparity in tactics also hints that cities are not sharing best practices well enough to effectively pursue mitigation and adaptation strategies simultaneously.

Each country plans for climate change based on its own set of needs—some attempt to mitigate climate change’s impacts, others try to adapt. Image via Urban Climate Survey/MIT.

Almost all 350 cities surveyed shared the realization that climate change cannot be combatted by government alone, but requires partnerships with businesses and community organizations. The survey found that industry is highly engaged in responding to climate change, with 25% of cities believing that local businesses have been crucial to the creation and implementation of their plans for climate mitigation, while 48% of the cities said that civil society organizations, nonprofits, and other organizations are involved in the climate planning process. However, although partnerships have been important to implementing climate change strategies, only 63% of cities have staff dedicated towards pursuing climate change partnerships.

Economy and environment must grow together

Another of the key findings of the survey was that cities feel as if the economy and the environment are a part of a zero-sum contest. Managers and city leaders understand that climate change is a priority – but many cities are facing what they view as conflicting priorities. Of cities that do include climate change in their planning, only 21% see tangible connections between the response to climate change and other local development objectives. But, as projects like the New Climate Economy have shown, combatting climate change and economic growth are not at odds. For example, Portland, Oregon, USA has invested in a pilot program called Clean Energy Works, which has simultaneously generated 400 jobs while reducing carbon emissions by 1,400 tons per year.

The survey went into depth to measure precisely how cities have sought to reduce their emissions throughout sectors. Cities generally focus first on buildings (89%), public fleet of motor vehicles (72%), and waste reduction waste (55%). Next the focus falls to residential energy (48%), policies and programs for sustainable residential buildings (36%) and increased use of public transport (36%). Reducing the use of private motor vehicles – a goal for only 22% of cities, and creating local services and businesses – a goal for only 18% of cities, were low on the list, identifying an area of key action as city leaders look to put their cities on the path to sustainable growth.

Cities have a wide range of different priorities in what sectors they target to lower carbon emissions. Image via Urban Climate Survey/MIT.

Moving towards implementation

Along with highlighting where cities’ efforts lie – and perhaps more importantly where they are not acting – the study also provides insight into four key components cities should begin with to facilitate a larger role for climate change in urban planning. These are the leadership of mayors and senior managers; collaboration with a wide variety of groups, from local governments to think-tanks; good data to work with; and finally, the allocation of funding and staff for specific climate-change programs. Although a tall order, taking the often hard steps towards incorporating climate change into urban plans now will have deep and enduring consequences on the fate of future cities.

This article was originally published in Portuguese at TheCityFix Brasil

Friday Fun: Mumbai’s Seatbelt Crew wants you to buckle up

Fri, 2014-05-30 20:20

Groups like the Seatbelt Crew combine education and entertainment to get automobile drivers on Mumbai, India’s crowded roads to buckle-up. Photo by Jerry H./Flickr.

Imagine it’s a hot, sunny day in Mumbai, India. Traffic is stopped. As you watch people passing by, suddenly a group of hijras – sometimes referred to as India’s transgender “third sex” – in matching saris file into the streets and strategically position themselves among the cars. Are they extras from a Bollywood movie? Perhaps a flash mob?

No, they are The Seatbelt Crew.

The Seatbelt Crew is a public service initiative of VithU, an emergency App, and Ogilvy and Mather, an international advertising, marketing, and public relations agency. The hijras’ goal is to remind drivers that they have a simple safety tool in their car: the seatbelt. It turns out to be a pretty effective tool as well: according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2013 Global status report on road safety, “seat-belts reduce the risk of a fatal injury by up to 50% for front seat occupants, and up to 75% for rear seat occupants.” The statistics speak for themselves, but seatbelt-wearing rates, as well as urban design techniques that can reduce the likelihood of traffic crashes in the first place, still lag in many cities. Studies have shown that an effective way to increase the use of seatbelts is to strategically combine educational social marketing efforts with legislation and law enforcement – and many countries have set out to do just that.

Countries entertain for education and impact

Popular campaigns over the decades have taken a variety of approaches, from humorous to dramatic. Some have left their mark as cultural treasures and award winning works of art. Others are remembered solely by the lives that they’ve saved.

Costa Rica combines love and the law for record change

In Costa Rica, the Por Amor campaign of 2003-2004 asked drivers, “por amor use el cinturón” (for love, use your seat belt) prompting drivers to choose to wear a seatbelt for the sake of family and friends. The campaign paralleled the introduction of a new seat belt law. The goal was to achieve a seatbelt-wearing rate of 70%. After the campaign, a survey confirmed that a combination of the campaign, seatbelt legislation, and police enforcement raised seatbelt useage by drivers from 24% to 82%, and recorded traffic fatality rates in the same period dropped by 13%.

The United States: Learning from Vince and Larry

The Crash Test Dummies, Vince and Larry, was a campaign in the United States that addressed this serious problem with a humorous approach. The dummies were so beloved that they now sit in the National Museum of American History collections as cultural icons. Their message also has had widespread impact – from 1985-1999, seat belt usage in the United States increased from 14% to 79%, saving an estimated 85,000 lives, and US$ 3.2 billion in costs to society. The Click It or Ticket campaign has continued Vince and Larry’s dedication through a new series, #3Seconds2Life, making an emotional connection between life’s special three-second moments and the time it takes to buckle up.

Europe embraces drama for impact

Language is not a barrier for understanding the dramatic campaign “Do not disconnect the line of life,” produced by the Ministry of Health and WHO in Russia. Likewise, the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership in England launched the impactful seatbelt and road safety campaign Embrace Life in 2010. The video won numerous safety awards, along with attracting 11.8 million hits on YouTube.

Meanwhile, a 2011 campaign in Afyonkarahisar, Turkey promoted that “Life has the right of way over time,” reminding watchers that the fun moments of everyday life are best enjoyed when protected by a seatbelt.  This video, combined with intensive social marketing campaigns across various mediums, local media support, and increased enforcement, all helped to increase the initial seatbelt wearing rate to about 49%.

Entertainment, combined with legislation pushes safety forward

Countries around the world understand the full importance of having citizens wear seatbelts. At least in terms of legislation, the outlook is positive. WHO states that 111 countries (69% of the world’s population) now have comprehensive seat-belt laws covering all occupants. However, to translate this into acculturating social norms towards safety (getting people to actually use their seatbelts) it will take a combination of enforcement by trained police (generally through fines) as well as more lighthearted approaches, from Vince and Larry to the Por Amor campaign. From seatbelts and helmets to speed limits and transport planning that supports safer streets, strengthening safe road behavior will require persistent attention. Yet, the potential societal shifts are vast, for convincing individuals to make smarter decisions today can pass down safer societal norms throughout generations.

What entertaining ways can you think of to promote seatbelt usage? Let us know in the comments!

Urbanism Hall of Fame: Jaime Lerner – The architect of Curitiba

Tue, 2014-05-27 19:45

Jaime Lerner’s vision for Curitiba, Brazil included creating a connected, sustainable city that would be accessible to all. Photo by EMBARQ.

This is the third entry in the Urbanism Hall of Fame series, exclusive to TheCityFix. This series is intended to inform people about the leading paradigms surrounding sustainable transport and urban planning and the thinkers behind them. By presenting their many stories, TheCityFix seeks to challenge our readers to think carefully about what defines leadership and innovation in sustainable transport and urban development.

Jaime Lerner placed Curitiba, Brazil on the map as a leading global example of urban sustainability. Throughout his three terms as Mayor of Curitiba, and then as Governor of the state of Paraná, he and his team made great strides towards changing both the built environment and the spirit of the city. Under Lerner’s leadership, his team designed a new master plan which integrated land use and transport, introduced bus rapid transit (BRT), increased green space, and pioneered recycling efforts. This idea that Lerner advanced that transport should be simultaneously efficient, affordable, and sustainable, contributing to healthy and community-oriented cities inspired innovations around the city and provided a lesson for cities around the globe.

New vision for the city links land use and transport

In the late 1960s, a group of young architects at the Universidad Federal de Paraná, opposed to the official development plan designed by Alfred Agache in the 1940s, proposing a different vision.   This vision entailed creating dense developments along mass transit corridors, curtailing sprawl, extending green areas, and preserving historic districts. To implement this ambitious strategy, in 1965 Lerner became the first director of the IPUCC (Research and Urban Planning Institute for Curitiba). In the core of the new urban design strategy resides the trinary system, which sought to integrate mass transit, access roads, and land uses together. This vision necessitated a transport option that would create affordable, convenient mobility to link the various areas of the city together.

BRT builds a connected city

To support the vision of a united, sustainable city, Lerner understood the need for a high capacity transport system, but recognized the need to depart from the transport planning trends dominating cities in the developed world. Unable to afford a light rail system, Lerner called for “metro-izing the bus.” The city gave priority to buses, allowing them to move faster and be more efficient it used exclusive bus lanes for trunk buses, designed a network of feeder buses, and in 1982 introduced the “tube stations” with pre-payment and larger buses.

These elements are the core of what was later termed bus rapid transit (BRT). Since his time as mayor, the city has built on Lerner’s work, creating an integrated transport network, which expanded throughout the metropolitan region. The BRT concept has also spread across the globe, with 168 cities currently operating BRT lines that serve over 31 million passengers per day.

Jaime Lerner is often known as the “Architect of Curitiba” for his pioneering work in reinventing rubbish as opportunity and expanding green space for city residents. Photo by The International Transport Forum/Flickr.

Expanding parks and public space for a greener future

In order to expand green space and avoid sprawl, Curitiba’s 1960s Master Plan reserved areas for parks, specifically in areas subject to flooding, and created a greenbelt around the city. Half a century later, the entire city is profiting from its 16 parks, 14 forests and more than 1,000 green public spaces, many of which are dedicated to celebrating Brazil’s multicultural history. Lerner’s new vision for the city played a large role in increasing green space from 1 square meter to 52 square meters (0.3 to 16 square feet) per each inhabitant, a change that marked Curitiba as the third greenest city in the world in 2007.

Once again, accomplishing this required thinking beyond the standards set by developed cities. For example, while increasing green space was a priority, the city could not afford maintenance services and wanted to avoid untended green spaces. To combat this problem, the city introduced sheep that would eat the grass and produce manure for local farmers.

Like the simple solution of letting sheep graze, another of the city’s most celebrated sustainability interventions was also hidden in plain sight.

Turning rubbish into opportunity

During his first tenure as Mayor of Curitiba, Lerner created a recycling program bent on making trash valuable. Loosely translated as “Rubbish that is not Rubbish – Green Exchange,” the idea of the program was that trash and recyclable paper could be exchanged for tokens to use the public transport system, notebooks for students, or food. The exchange program gave low-income populations access to jobs downtown and higher quality meals and allowed students access to the educational resources they needed.

The 62 poorest neighborhoods of Curitiba alone have exchanged 11,000 tons of garbage for nearly one million bus tokens. This program has served as a perfect example of how to creatively use resources to help bring greater sustainability to a city, and greater opportunity to a city’s residents.

Creative solutions create lasting rewards

The connected transport system and dedication towards green space that Lerner spearheaded has paid off for the city several times over. From 1975 to 1995, Curitiba’s GDP increased 75% more than that of the overall state of Paraná, and 48% more than the GDP of Brazil as a whole. The city has become an attractive location for multinational industries, from automotive manufacturing to information technology.

At the same time, Curitiba has maintained high levels of air quality and road safety, even as other emerging cities have struggled with such factors in their race to develop. Curitiba has managed to increase economic productivity while also having the most sustainable modal share among 15 Latin American cities. 42% of the daily trips are through walking and cycling, while another 28% of trips are taken using public transport, with only 4.2 traffic fatalities per 100,000 people (compared to a 9.6 average in the region). Though as any political figure, he has sparked controversy, Lerner remains a celebrated figure among urbanists for his far-sighted vision. Curitiba’s current success has been possible through the two key elements Lerner identified early on: fewer cars and separated garbage. Yet, even as his words make the process seem simple, Curitiba shows how imaginative, intricate, and compelling these solutions can truly become.

The new generation of participatory planning for today’s cities

Thu, 2014-05-22 20:47

Cities look for ways to use social networks and mobile applications to engage the younger generation in the planning process. Photo by Fullbridge Program/Flickr.

We live in a world where four out of five millennials prefer to live in walkable places with a variety of commuting options, a world where people want to drive less and socialize more. However, while the next generation’s desires are apparent in their choices of where to work and live, this new vision of walkability has been more slowly realized in the planning profession. Engagement with younger generations throughout the planning process is still lacking. Social networks and mobile platforms offer a way to educate and involve this demographic in the planning process on their own terms, fostering a truly shared vision for a sustainable urban future.

New social networks demand new participation structures

Social network are growing in influence: it is estimated that about one third of the time spent online is on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Given the increasing importance of and reliance on these platforms, it is no wonder that, when presented with traditional measures of public participation like surveys and public forums, the current generation feels disenfranchised from the participatory process.

However, this does not mean that this generation does not care about issues in their cities. Rather, they are creating change outside of formal planning structures. Planners must work towards combining the younger generation’s desire to innovate with ways to participate in the formal planning process that fits with this generation’s new modes of interaction. Social media used to disseminate information from the government and smartphone applications that connect people with their cities, can bring community participation to the forefront of these people’s social networks, and to the forefront of their lives.

Cities innovate for greater citizen interaction

Cities around the world are using new strategies to communicate with and engage their residents. They are communicating across a broad array of platforms, including dedicated Facebook pages, Twitter handles, and hashtags to promote local issues. Some have become regional celebrities, with the Regional Planning Association (RPA) of New York having more than 7,000 followers on Twitter. Meanwhile, the City of Edmonton, Canada organized a dance party on its light rail transit (LRT) line as a way of showing young people the benefits of sustainable transport.

Yet, cities must do more than simply advertise their initiatives. They must also use these platforms to engage citizens throughout the planning process. The City of Austin, Texas is taking steps towards this with their Social Networking and Planning Project (SNAPPatx), a social media-enabled platform for people to express opinions about transport and mobility in the city. Meanwhile, smartphone applications like SeeClickFix allow citizens to report problems, like potholes or broken windows, anytime and anywhere to their local government.

Yet even here, the SNAPPatx project gives people a voice, but provides no guarantee that voice will translate into action, whereas SeeClickFix allows residents to change physical problems in their neighborhoods, but does nothing for letting them change the policies that created many of the problems in the first place. Applications that provide information to the citizens, allow citizens to provide information back to their governments, that give citizens power to make impactful change, and transparency in the steps to this change, are all key components in creating applications that support true citizen participation. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is a strong example of this kind of planning, with the development of an open-source platform and a smartphone app called MetroPulse. This application gives users easy access to regional indicators that track progress of the GO TO 2040 regional plan, allowing citizens to understand the importance of the plan, and to keep governments accountable.

There are many possible pitfalls with using social media and smartphones as planning tools, from losing the seriousness of civic participation, as well as unproductive and polarizing opinions that detract from rather than add to the public debate. It must be remembered too that there are still many demographics that cannot afford smart phones, and planners must work to ensure that all residents’ voices are heard. Yet, for all of the potential pitfalls, the potentials social media and mobile applications provide are immense. These mediums have the potential to give this emerging generation a stronger voice and a clearer vehicle for democratic change in their communities, and so planners must push forward to find ways to promote a style of civic engagement that fits with this new style of social interaction.

 

A story of demand and dissent for Mumbai’s skywalks

Fri, 2014-05-16 19:36

Mumbai India’s skywalks have been a symbol of poor planning for the city, but with public engagement and key design initiatives, the skywalk still has the potential to increase access for the residents of the city. Photo by TheMumbaiflyover/Flickr.

Mumbai, India’s skywalk project was meant to provide better connectivity and accessibility for pedestrians in the city. The project – a joint initiative of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the Maharshtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) – aimed to build a target of 50 skywalks with a pricetag of USD 123 million. The goal was not only to build the world’s largest skywalk network, but also to shape Mumbai as an innovative leader in urban planning among developing cities. Due in part to poor planning and a contractor-driven agenda, the skywalks are now largely a blight on the city. Yet, the project’s failures also serve to illuminate the path forward. With human-centred design and public participation, these skywalks can become the tools to increase sustainable mobility that Mumbai’s planners envisioned and that citizens deserve.

Skywalks: The seemingly silver bullet

There was originally huge enthusiasm in the media for Mumbai’s skywalks – they were seen as solutions for a healthier, more active lifestyle, calming traffic, and fighting pollution. Thirty-seven skywalks rose around the city over the course of the past five years. Yet a survey conducted by the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit revealed that only one or two major skywalks were attracting pedestrians. The MMRDA called off further construction of the skywalks amidst growing dissent over the once glorified project. In an interview given to the Times of India, Vasai legislator and activist Vivek Pandit dubbed the skywalk project a “contractor driven project” with hardly any public outreach and little research behind the locations and safety of the skywalks. The Times found that only 1% of pedestrians use the skywalks for commuting, which was thought to yield the highest economic return for the project.

More problems come to light

Dissent surrounding the skywalks only increased following public availability of data on the project’s safety. According to a recent survey published in the Hindustan Times, 63.2% of people said the skywalks were not safe for women, especially at non-peak hours. 42.6% felt they were unsafe for everyone, with 81.4% going so far as to say that there needed to be full time security.

Other issues emerged, such as skywalks being constructed too close to residential buildings and creating privacy issues for residents; in other places, construction was delayed by as long as four years and caused persistent traffic congestion in the surrounding communities. Some of the issues with the skywalk were more subtle, such as there being no visible signboards for first time users. Lack of services, such as escalators and ramps, also made it difficult for the mobility-impaired to access the skywalks.

Can the skywalk be saved?

Pulling the plug and knocking down or closing the skywalks will not aid Mumbai’s mounting  traffic congestion problem or advance the city towards walkability, livability, or sustainability. After several comparative studies of services being offered successfully in other cities, such as metro stations in Delhi, the Vadodra Bus Terminal of Gujrat, and the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport of Hyderbabad a few key initiatives have been found that can turn Mumbai’s skywalks into a successful project not only in terms of utility but in terms of revenue as well:

  • Increase usability with proper signboards to help first-time commuters.
  • Increase accessibility for all populations by providing escalators and wheelchairs at all skywalks.
  • Increase infrastructure maintenance for clean walkways and to avoid unwanted encroachment.
  • Strategic placement of skywalks around metros and airports to connect and integrate transport modes.
  • Partner with local vendors to occupy areas around the footpaths to drum up foot traffic—increasing safety and helping local businesses.
  • Provide both male and female security guards to increase security for female commuters.

Any project that seeks to bring long-term sustainability to an urban area requires public engagement, particularly as these projects are taxpayer-funded and citizens are the ultimate users. Indian city dwellers are beginning to question the infrastructure that their cities are providing them, and they are growing ever more resolute in asserting their needs. For Mumbai’s skywalks and beyond, Indian citizens have made their demand for safe, connected cities and the sustainable mobility they deserve.

 

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