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Tomorrow.Podcast 1×03: Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?

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Author | M. Martínez Euklidiadas

The cities that grew during the latter stages of the last century did so using an urban model geared towards the use of cars, which is why this inefficient mode of transport occupies a significant share of the public space. Adding to this occupation is the last mile e-commerce delivery trend, electric individual mobility vehicles and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the expansion of commercial spaces to facilitate social distancing.

“COVID has required us to rethink the design of urban space, and perhaps we need to come out with more choices and opportunities to allow the post-COVID urbanism to flourish.” — Robert Cervero

Robert Cervero, Professor Emeritus of City & Regional Planning at the University of Berkeley, helps us to understand who owns the urban space, whether it in fact belongs to anyone, and how the coronavirus has led to a new urban redistribution. One that may not return to how it was before. Should cities be for people, for cars, for riders?

“With the COVID-19 pandemic we realised cities should be thought for people, not for cars.” – Citizen’s voice

Are public spaces improving or getting worse? Pedestrianization and urban infrastructures having been gaining positions with regard to cars, although the COVID-19 emergency has meant that many priorities have changed: such as giving catering establishments more margin, which further privatizes what is already a reduced space for pedestrians.

In relation to this fascinating subject, Jordi Torrent, Head of Business Strategy for the Port of Barcelona, one of the most relevant ports in the world, indicates the need for a more sustainable maritime mobility model that makes use of transition fuels towards electrification or hydrogen- or ammonia-based fuels for mobility; while also highlighting the importance of opening part of the port, which occupies an important space along the coast, to the general public.

“It’s possible (and desirable) that the port of Barcelona improves the local environment.” — Jordi Torrent

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Image | Robinson Recalde

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