Let’s imagine, for a moment, the future of our cities. Parked cars are almost non-existent, motorized traffic is severely restricted, and noisy traffic routes have turned into pedestrian promenades. Of course, this is an optimistic vision, but it’s by no means naive. For the mobility of the future, a profound paradigm shift is emerging – and already leading to visible changes in urban space. Parked cars are increasingly disappearing from the cityscape. More and more people are using car-sharing schemes instead of owning a car. According to the current state of technology, autonomous driving will become reality in the foreseeable future, bringing with it significant consequences. While local public transport systems are pushed to capacity and urgently need to be expanded, new alternative modes of urban transport are starting to emerge. The consequences of this paradigm shift can, in part, already be observed today and are often driven by politics. Strict emission regulations, city tolls and ever-fewer parking spaces are helping to upgrade public space and rediscover its qualities beyond the car. The car-friendly city shaped our inner cities for decades, but now this concept has finally run its course. Whereas the car was once a symbol of individual freedom, most city dwellers today see it as a source of environmental pollution, noise and high costs.
It’s high time that we started thinking concretely about how to participate in rethinking mobility – with urban planning measures and buildings that respond to people’s needs. But which uses are important for everyday life? How should our train stations be designed; what additional possibilities and functions do we need? Not only city administrations and municipalities, but also urban planners and architects are now called upon to develop future-oriented solutions. Ultimately, the new era of mobility gives us the chance to reorient our cities and create new qualities for everyday life.
For our concept issue in March, we have selected current projects that represent small or large milestones for the future with well-considered contextual solutions. This includes deliberate expansion of local transport. In the city of Copenhagen, for example, the metro’s new inner city ring closes a gap with 17 new stations. The architects of this demanding project have been exemplary in many aspects, such as skilfully directing daylight into the underground spaces.
A second process this issue documents in detail is the conversion of the train station in Rennes. With this project, the city in Brittany is preparing for an expected 50 % increase in passengers over the next 20 years. Another of its key planning challenges is the question of how the station will integrate into the urban space in the future.
The typologies in this concept issue – whose projects have been compiled by our editor Julia Liese – represent a variety of measures that cities are taking to prepare for a new era of transport and to respond to the needs of the people. We show you the reconstruction of a brutalist bus station in Preston in the north of England and bicycle garages in Erfurt and Amsterdam. Car parks located at strategic junctions, such as in Zutphen in Holland, have also been built with an eye to the future.