Mesocyclones (Superilles) in Barcelona

Barcelona, superillesThe planned superblocks (superilles) in Barcelona may well conjure-up visions of monstrous housing blocks of the 50s and 60s with all their appurtenant issues. But these superilles, literally super islands, measuring 400 x 400 meters aim to provide citizens life-sustaining space. The plan to cut down the prevalence of motorized private traffic on public space by 61% in the neighbourhood of Eixample will serve as a petri dish in bringing about radical change in living space.

With restricted access and no through traffic, vehicles within superblocks have a max. speed limit set at 10kmph. With increased bicycle lanes and better public transport, these measures will go a long way in making cities liveable for citizens to live healthier lives.

558ebc5bd7fe1_ec62bfc99ed98c24c40e7c8efb91315cThere is a dire need for studies that look not only into the social, environmental and health aspects of urban life, but also the economic impact on its denizens in a more holistic manner.


A University of Oregon’s study tool -A Dynamic Design Approach for Barcelona’s Superilles


European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP)

Bremen Declaration on Sustainable Urban Mobility Planning in Europe

The just concluded 3rd European Conference on Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans in Brebremen_declaration 1men has come out with a declaration that points to:

  • Efficient use of street space with minimal technical infrastructure, focusing on its (street space’s) most efficient use which is, primarily, walking and cycling.
  • Putting people ahead of vehicles, making urban space livable. Breathing space not ju st for the lungs but our own mobility.
  • Addressing transport challenges for businesses. Can we minimize use of space, with efficient and sustainable logistic solutions? And can we even begin to work on local manufacturing – read 3-D printing?
  • Spatial planning with mobility factored in has not yet succeeded, in that we have not been able to square the circle. Can SUMP make a difference in today’s cities, in an economically sustainable form?
  • Implement simple solutions, using technology as a tool.
  • Put use ahead of ownership. Can we truly move to a share economy without toppling the apple cart?
  • Enable people to participate in shaping their city. Is citizen science a way forward?
  • Be prepared for future developments.

bremen_declarationElectric bus Bremen

Motorists to Public Transport

Turku in Finland is another example of a successful campaign in reversing the flow – Stop the madding crowd! Anyone with a driver’s license can exchange it for a bus pass. Over 5’000 motorists have made the move to avail of the 20 Euros worth of bus commuting.Föli - switch from your car to a public bus

Motorists in the Turku region are able to get a taste of bus travel this spring at no cost. The offer is open to anyone with a driving license who has not previously registered a Turku bus card. If they sign up with Föli, the region’s transport authority, their first card will be loaded with 20 Euros worth of travel credits.Föli - Turku public transport

The public transport agency Föli (site in Finnish) initiated the campaign which will run till the 27th of March. With a population of 250’000, there is a lot of potential. Public transport needs to play an important role, weaning people away from using private motorized vehicles. If one cannot walk or cycle, the next best thing would be public transport.



CIVITAS DYN@MO aims big, using web 2.0, introducing people-friendly mobility solutions with electrCIVITAS DYN@MOic and hybrid vehicles, CIVITAS DYN@MO engages in a dialogue with those affected viz. citizens of the affected areas. Dynamic citizen dialogue is a key in the successful implementation of mobility solutions and services. Two leading European cities have been at the core, Aachen in Germany and Gdynia in Poland, with the follow-on cities Palma de Mallorca in Spain and Koprivnica in Croatia.

The mission of CIVITAS DYN@MO is to strengthen sustainable mobility by promoting non-polluting lifestyles, fostering social interaction and collaboration on the basis of the new media, and implementing integrated implementation of innovative transport services for active citizens of all ages.

Madrid Expands Bicycle Lanes in 2016

Cyclists in Madrid have something else to cheer about. Their city council has decided to spend over € 40 Million on improving and expanding bike

(c) Steve -

Pedestrian bike lane

lanes this year. A number of parties in the ‘Ahora Madrid’ bloc have promised a new plan to facilitate and encourage use of cycles in the city. The plan is also to expand the bike sharing system, BiciMad, in Madrid.

Among the issues that cities and cyclists face is whether to have cycle lanes in combination with pedestrian space or with regular traffic. Cycles and cyclists do not have crumple zones. And moving together with five tonne behemoths has its own set of risks.

End-to-end connectivity is a key term and it is upon us to ensure that bike lanes are thought through. Patchy bike lane stretches are not a sustainable solution. When we acknowledge that pedestrians need safe space, we must also provide cyclists with similar safe zones.

(c) BiciMad Hotel Quatro

BiciMad at Hotel Quatro, Madrid

Avere France rewards seven regions

Avere FranceE-Mobility makes a marked difference in cutting down noxious emissions. France’s national association for the development of electric mobility, AVERE, has given awards to seven French regions.

The awards showcase efforts of towns, municipalities and other institutions actively enabling or deploying electric vehicles. Awardees include Paris and the island territory of la Réunion.

Walking buses

Walking Bus

(c) KM Charity

You’ve read it correctly. It is a bus made up of walkers! Complete with ‘drivers’, ‘conductors’, ‘passengers’ and even a ‘park and stride’. Obesity and other complications of modern day life catch us young. Getting school children to walk to school, is something we need to re-acquire. It is healthy!


FIRED-uP – FIRE services Develop innovative Procurement

(c) Seluryar, CC-license

Nothing like a warm fire on a cold winter’s day. Raging fires, on the other hand, need to be doused quickly. Fire engines are a common sight, though little has been researched and publicized about their environmental impact.  The Competitiveness and Innovation Programme of the European Union has co-financed projects in the the cities of Ghent and London to carry out research on the environmental aspects and provide solutions to avoid and mitigate environmental impact. Another step in making a positive change.