airports architecture infrastructure initiatives research strat. planning urban design

The « City and Car » : research and publication of “Ville et Voiture” ed. Parenthèses
France, 2009-2013
client: Ministère de l'écologie, de l'énergie, du développement durable et de l'aménagement du territoire (DGALN), France
team: Güller Güller architecture urbanism

An in-depth study of "City and car" commissioned by the French Ministry which involved the following:

- A research document on the future evolution of the car and its uses, trends in urban mobility and public policies of major cities towards car use and the transformation of public space.

- A series of 4 thematic seminars with experts, policy makers, public / private service providers, and representatives of the automotive industry.

- Interviews with selected professionals to provide key insight into the topic

- A symposium (Atelier Projet Urbain) gathering key individuals and organizations to further research and analysis

- Publication of a book documenting the conclusions of the "City and car" study, titled “Ville et Voiture“ (ed. Parenthèses)

Designed for the car and the accommodation of the arteries of road infrastructure, the city of the 20th century has been defined mainly by a functional approach to urbanization. The evidence lies in its increasingly dispersed shape and spatial organization with a pre-dominant road system, and the car induced design of its public space.

Current initiatives of urban (re)development must respect the need of a more sustainable environment, new practices of everyday life and new trends in urban transportation. Therefore a new chapter in the coexistence of the car and the city needs to be written.

Today we’re at a turning point in the history of the motorized vehicle and a car-based urban development, that started 125 years ago: the rapid rise of the electric car, the automated guided vehicle, but also the trend away from the car as a “status symbol” to a simple “service”, therefore just one element in a chain of diverse mobility services.

In this book we distinguish three kind of urban spaces, with each a peculiarity regarding the dependency on a car-based mobility and its respective space of maneuver to allow for change: the “Core city”, the “Inbetween city” and the “Sprawl city”. Thereby we offer a specific focus on the vast “Inbetwen city” of our post-war agglomerations and its inherent potential for change.

The book observes the end of the era of car dominated urban development and explores an urbanism based on the walkable city, new concepts and services of mobility, and hybrid forms of transport shaped by new practices and digital technology. It illustrates a broad range of experiments and research across the world that are testing new paths and open rising methods. These practices and new methodologies have the potential to make the city more livable from the center to its outer most fringes.

In all this an approach to mobility combined with urban policy is key, not at last in a joint effort to reshape our public domain.