Forschungsforum Mobilität - Metamorphosis International Conference

  • Posted on: 17 December 2018
  • By: Susanne Wrighton

On 7 December METAMORPHOSIS became the topic of the “Forschungsforum Mobilität für alle”, an international conference in Vienna successfully joined by about 170 mobility experts, policy makers, urban planners and researchers. The conference gathered experts on how to transform cities in a child-friendly and barrier-free way, with evidences and best practices by the mobility departments of Zurich, Merano and Vienna. The latter gave interesting insights about the results of the METAMORPHOSIS implementations in the three cities as co-creative solutions for more liveable neighbourhoods.


Below some learnt lessons discussed by the town councilor for mobility in the municipality of Merano, Madeleine Rohrer:

1. Global warming makes cities hotter and relationships among people more tense. Wealthy urban owners will be able to afford air-conditioned private rooms, whereas all other will have to adapt to less cool accommodations. Municipality must prevent these conflicts by increasing wells, trees and shadow areas in public spaces.

2. Online shopping threatens small cities based on short-trip activities, as well as local trade. In order to reduce this negative impact, cities must design people-oriented policies, where people represent the balance between Internet and the local dynamics.

3. Children who play in residential streets develop more diverse skills than children who just play in “isolated” playgrounds.

4. Children who grow up in traffic-calmed areas of a city have more friends than those who live in high-traffic streets. The same applies to adults, by the way.

5. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends children to do physical activity for at least one hour a day - Residential and play streets make this possible ("back to the future").

6. In Denmark, municipalities close whole streets to give schools more space. During the attempt to implement this project in Austria, experts found out that some people better stand traffic noise than noisy children.

7. We need a new definition of "normal". Just reflect on the fact that almost every municipality gives permits to park a car (private object) on a public area, but does not allow people to place a sandbox as mobile playground (private object) on the same area.

8. In 2018 the inhabitants of Vienna built 74 "Grätzl-Oasen", i.e., green open space in park lane.

9. Barriers are not only spatial, visual barriers exist as well. Disabled people get lost in digital advertising billboards.

10. They do exist: panel discussions on mobility issues with a man as moderator and women as deep experts.