On 16th December 2021, the second Peer Review of the RESOLVE Project took place online. The meeting was about sustainable mobility and city center attractiveness, with a specific focus on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic had on such topics. During the meeting, three different speakers gave partners some more details and external inspirations about the topics.
Professor Graham Parkhurst, from the University of West England, made the first intervention about public transport in the post-COVID era in the UK. The Covid-19 pandemic still have a huge impact on public transport, mainly on perceptual, technological, socio-behavioral, and economic aspects. For example, the negative perception of the limited space in PT and the increase in homeworking impacted negatively on the use of public transport in the UK.
Alongside, during the apex of the pandemic, the UK experienced a decrease in the use of cars (-67%) and an increase in cycling (+384%), which almost disappeared after lockdowns, when the situation returned to the pre-covid era.
Homeworking affected deeply people’s habits in terms of mobility. Generally, people consider homeworking very positively and they think this trend will continue after the pandemic, thus leading to changing mobility behaviours.
Nevertheless, the future of mobility will strictly depend on the actual behaviours after the end of restrictions. Based on a survey in the UK, Professor Parkhurst pointed out that 82% of people expect to be working from home more often, 73% to be commuting less, 61% to be walking more, 44% to be cycling more and 57% to be driving less.
The second intervention was made by José Besselink, senior urban planner of the City of Rotterdam, who spoke about pedestrians, health, and urban attractiveness. She presented the situation of the City of Rotterdam that since 2000 experienced a 25% increase of inhabitants in the city center, due to an increase in city attractiveness. At the same time, the city has implemented policies to increase green areas, eliminating cars and creating more liveable areas for citizens. In the last 10 years, they have experienced an increase in cycling and a shift from car to public transport and walking, thanks to the numerous policies implemented to create a healthy and attractive city.
The third intervention was about participation in urban health, by Jo Maes of Burgerkracht Limburg. Jo Maes explained that health in Roermond is based on the “positive health approach”: “Health as the ability to adapt and to self manage in the face of social, physical and emotional challenges of life”. The impact of positive health is in terms of innovation: the tool is for all citizens, including children and people with literacy challenges; participation is essential for health, and having a job is considered essential for health. Furthermore, in treatments based on the positive health approach, the relationship between patient and doctors becomes equal.
The last intervention was by Alberto Merigo (Reggio Emilia), who presented the strategy implemented by the Municipality to foster sustainable mobility and facilitate the transition to a low-carbon retailing economy in COVID times. He focused on the Strategic Plan "Reggio Emilia Restart" and the actions implemented, for example, in the central street "Via Roma", where the area is now mostly pedestrian.
The partner then exchanges their reflections on the presentations, underlining the usefulness of the different policies explained. They discussed the experiences of each partner in promoting sustainable mobility and the use of public transport, mostly regarding the challenges of the COVID19 pandemic.
The Partners of the project are now working on their learning plans in collaboration with local stakeholder, which will be presented in the plenary online Capacity-building event in February 2022. Stay tuned!