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Stuttgart, Germany, 4 Jul 11

Urban cog railway being loaded with bicycles in Stuttgart, Germany © City of Stuttgart

UN-HABITAT was part of the participants at the Cities for Mobility Congress held here in early July.

Speaking at the session, Mr. Christian Schlosser, Chief of UN-HABITAT's Urban Transport Section called for better planning of cities so that the residents can get enough space to move, especially walking.

"We need to plan for walk-able streets and active neighborhoods; we should not waste space and thus plan for compact cities" he emphasized.

Building dense, people- and transit-oriented urban districts where land use planning allows people to walk, cycle and use transit options was a concept that experts agreed on. UN-HABITAT, through its "Sustainable Transport Solutions for East African Cities" project, promotes an approach that supports compact cities, non-motorized transport options as well as transit systems working towards more sustainable mobility scenarios.

"Cities for Mobilities" is a worldwide network aiming at the promotion of urban mobility. The network brings together more than 600 members from 82 countries representing a diverse range of sectors such as politics, economy, science and civil society to support sustainable mobility solutions.

Redesigning public space and transforming it into a social space where people do not only move around as quickly as possible but where they feel comfortable, where space for social interaction is available and at the same time preserves natural resources, was on top of the Congress' agenda.

"Urban Mobility versus Urban Space" was the provocative title of a workshop discussing practical solutions in developing countries that have been put in place showcasing how ideas on integrated urban mobility models can be translated into planning practice. UN-HABITAT's contribution on "Urban Spaces for Efficient Mobility" focused on the interrelation of Urban Space and Mobility at the neighborhood, city and regional level. The workshop also served as a platform to share the ideas of the United Nations Committee of Local Authorities on their 2011 key theme "Urban Mobility". The United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA) advises UN-HABITAT's Executive Director on sustainable urban development and consequently on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. The activities implemented under the annual theme "Urban Mobility" will centre on knowledge dissemination promoting the implementation of more efficient mobility systems. A further envisaged element is the initiation of a twinning programme among UNACLA members and other interested parties such as the Cities for Mobility Network.

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