Planning Mobility on Transboundary Shrinking Towns

Planning Mobility on Transboundary Shrinking Towns

Luciano Alfaya (CESUGA, Universidad San Jorge, Spain), Patricia Muniz (Universidade da Coruña, Spain), David Wilkes (Estudio MMASA, Spain), Antia Martinez (Estudio MMASA, Spain) and Camilo Fernandez (Inzarede, Spain)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJEPR.2020100104
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Mobility plans have become an essential instrument for the urban planning of cities. Compared to other documents and by focusing on the improvement of public spaces, these plans can work as strategic documents for cities of diverse scales, especially in municipalities that decrease and consequentially cannot trust their reorganization to new developments. This article poses the double objective of assessing the differences between proximity planning in five plans carried out in small-size Spanish municipalities, and spatial planning in the Galicia-North of Portugal transboundary plan. To this end, the results of the surveys carried out and the origin-destination matrixes are analyzed, looking closely at the similarities obtained between the digital and the on-site data. Therefore, it is possible to confirm that the digital data is useful regarding urban planning for territories with dispersed population, even where two countries are involved.
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For years urban planning has centered on the increase of the cities. At a global level it is still a generalized phenomenon (Burdett, 2011). But not all cities grow. Many even, also of a small scale, are constantly losing population with no prospect of change of trend (Lois & Pino, 2015). In this regard, the planning of urban mobility is an essential public tool, without being subject to private development and without reaching the level of an urban project.

This article is centered on the analysis of different mobility plans in small size municipalities (between 3,000 and 10,000 inhabitants approximately), located in the province of Pontevedra, in the Northwest of Spain. These are municipalities that, as a consequence of the processes to obtain community funds, especially FEDER funds, have been forced to draft documents regarding mobility improvement which guarantee a reduction of emissions to the atmosphere.

Further on, the results of these specific approaches will be compared to a more territorial, multi-scale, and cross border vision. It is a total area of over 200,000 inhabitants in the north of Portugal, and a total of 16 municipalities.

All these small towns are aware that their problems do not lie in, and cannot be solved, by improving urban mobility, therefore, from the outset, the drafted documents respond to far-reaching problems (Ezquiaga & Alfaya, 2011).

Figure 1.

Municipalities from South of Galicia and North of Portugal separated by the Minho River. This is where the mobility plan has been done. Area of the Transboundary Minho. © 2019, Author.


At the outset, it is worth noting that all the plans introduced, were all done under our supervision, have been approved in the last few months and the data corresponds to 2019. On the other hand, as will be described further on, these plans are intended to surpass the basic optimization of circulation flows and to focus on the development of a strategic vision of the territory, using the redefinition of public spaces to this end.

At a Galician level this phenomenon of mobility planning in small municipalities is quite recent, so, beyond territorial analysis associated to the reliance on the main cities (Harguindey, 2011), no special studies at a territorial level have been made. The cross-border problem had been addressed by Carballo Lomba (2015), also by Palmero and Pazos (2008), from the certainty of a lack of vision which surpassed the limits of each of the countries.

Recently, the Strategic Plan of the cross-border Area Galicia-North of Portugal, carried out by geographers of the University of Santiago de Compostela, and as yet not published, sets out a vision for all the cross-border territory. It also places mobility as the articulating seed of future actions.

The relevance of this article is also reflected in the proliferation of mobility plans. Barely a year ago, no municipality of less than 20,000 inhabitants in the province of Pontevedra had a mobility plan. By 2020 almost fifty will have made theirs.

The reference manuals – academic or managerial- are centered on the functional structure of the big cities. The condition of small municipalities -larger in number and in all the territory- makes it necessary to make a critical assessment of the parameters pointed out in these reference manuals, as they do not have a coherent reference for small scale.

In any case, assuming that the urban planning regulations have always been associated with the city growth, the transversal question that is intended to be developed in this article is the following: How to plan towns and small settlements, especially when they are losing population?

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