Sustainable mobility and urban space quality: the case of Granada, Spain
Free (open access)
Volume 5 (2021), Issue 4
309 - 326
A.L. Grindlay, G. Ochoa-Covarrubias & C. Lizárraga
The urban environment and the quality of the urban spaces are greatly affected by different forms of mobility, from the extremely impactful mass use of private vehicles to the ‘soft’ pedestrian walkways and cycle paths, and also through the several modes of public transport. In this paper we first explore the different urban impacts of these forms of mobility and the interaction between the urban system and the transportation system, and we then analyse the relationship of factors promoting urban quality in accordance with literature on urban design. Next, an analysis of the street’s cross section is made, as the quality of this space is inextricably linked to its grade of sustainable mobility. The results of this study are contrasted with the experience within Granada’s metropolitan area, which has a high level of private vehicular use, for example its heavy congestion coupled with severe environmental pollution. A new light rail system (LRT) has been developed, with major urban renewal along its track. The LRT has the particularity of having varied cross sections, whereby the improvement in quality of urban space along them can be evaluated. The high-quality urban spaces are those with virtually no vehicular access whatsoever, providing a completely pedestrianized area, such as in the traditional urban road crossing axes in the outlying districts, which are now almost completely free from vehicles and are more greatly accessible to people. As a result of current social distancing required by the COVID-19 pandemic, urban space, which can be configured in a very adaptable way, is changing in many cities including Granada, giving more space in their streets to sustainable mobility modes and, therefore, indirectly increasing their quality and longevity. The changes carried out in Granada reveal a requirement for the promotion of improvement in urban spaces and sustainable mobility on a metropolitan scale, since the LRT is not enough if it is not accompanied by other urban development and mobility integrated measures.
Granada, LRT, public transport system, sustainable mobility, urban quality, urban sustainability.