Sustainable urban mobility planning (SUMP) is a strategic and integrated approach to dealing with the complexity of urban transport. One of its eight principles emphasises the importance of taking the entire functional urban area into consideration when developing and implementing such a strategic plan.
What must not be forgotten, however, is that a city consists of many different neighbourhoods and this planning level is of equal importance. This SUMP topic guide highlights ways in which planning efforts at the neighbourhood level and at the city-wide level can complement one another. It is based on the experience of the CIVITAS project SUNRISE and its ‘’.
The document highlights the specific advantages of planning for sustainable mobility at the neighbourhood level. The neighbourhood is where people’s everyday-life unfolds and where many mobility-related choices are anchored and determined. It is also a spatial level with certain features that can and should be utilised on the way to a more sustainable mobility system. This includes short distances that are conducive to active modes of transport, but also a shared sense of identity, detailed local knowledge and established communication channels etc.
Another key advantage of working at the neighbourhood-level is the opportunity to involve residents and stakeholders intensively along all steps of the innovation chain – much more than what is typically possible in city-wide (SUMP) planning processes: The identification of problems, the development of measures, their implementation and their evaluation. The starting point of this Topic Guide is therefore the nexus between “co-creation” as a procedural approach and the neighbourhood as a spatial / social unit.
However, there is usually a lack of power at the neighbourhood level, a lack of specialist expertise, of quality data, of paid staff capacity and of influence on infrastructure decisions that affect the neighbourhood. All of this means that efforts at the neighbourhood-level should be “joined-up” with efforts at the city-wide level. It also means that if a city’s high-level mobility planning ignores the reality in its many neighbourhoods, it runs the risk of “structural arrogance” and/or ignorance and simply of limited effectiveness. In other words, if mobility does not “work” in the various neighbourhoods it is unlikely to work in the city as a whole.
Therefore, neighbourhood-based and city-wide planning must be aligned. The Topic Guide highlights situations where this alignment makes most sense and how such an alignment can be achieved. If well coordinated, SUMP activities can support actions at the neighbourhood level in various ways and ensure that decentral efforts are compatible with city-wide goals and measures. Vice versa, initiatives for sustainable mobility in a neighbourhood can be the spearhead of certain measures that are supposed to be implemented in the entire city.
- Publication date
- 15 October 2021
- Urban mobility planning