This year, the City Observatory has chosen to focus its research cycle on the topic of proximity/proximities. What is the goal? To suggest a prospective vision of sociocultural tendencies linked to proximities.
Among the issues raised, that of mobility/proximity holds a particular place. In the following excerpt, Nicolas Louvet, 6t director, discusses the importance of articulating within the urban project these two concepts.
Although the impact of short-distance urban planning is not evident as concerns life quality, its impact on daily mobility has not been shown, and pilot studies have proven themselves to be disappointing at this level, the populations concerned having continued, more often than not, to work outside their neighbourhood. Residential mobility only occasionally aims at moving closer to the workplace, this phenomenon being accentuated when the people making up a household are professionally active and do not work at the same place.
It is very often within spatial proximity of the workplace that one carries out so-called proximity activities. In other words, in cases where there is unity of place in everyday life, where the place is, inter alia, characterised by pedestrian metrics, insertion by contiguity (spatial proximity) occurs naturally. But once ,time and distance no longer converge is the connectedness (proximity by time) that should be taken into account. In this way it is not just “the city of places” that should be of interest, but also, and fundamentally, the “city of links“. To establish these links, it is necessary to move from a supply policy to a usage policy.
The urban project can be based on the offer, but it must be based on supply in order to support the new alternative uses.
Source: excerpt from a comment page (p.22) published in the latest study of the City Observatory, Proximity (ies) (in French)
Photo credit: 6t research, 2015