Land-use Transport Systems: Comparing Local Policy Dynamics in Swiss and French Urban Areas

Abstract : Since the 19th century, a variety of "ideal" land-use transport systems have been formulated as optimal solutions to urban land-use and transportation problems (Wegener and Fürst, 1999). Today, there is a broad consensus among researchers and transport/urban planning professionals that more coherence and coordination between transport and land-use policies is necessary to achieve sustainable urban development and mobility. This claim derives from evidence that, in Europe, local policies are only successful as regards criteria for sustainable development (the reduction of motorized traffic) when they combine measures for limiting car use in city centres with measures favoring the development of public transportation, densification, and mixed-use urban organization (Pharoah and Appel, 1995; Brög and Erl, 1996). If there is nothing new in the question regarding the interaction between spatial organization and transport, the ideas underlining this concern and the purposes of public policies have deeply evolved over the centuries, particularly as relates to urban planning. In short, we have moved from a concept of "car-shaped cities" to an approach to urban design where guidelines derive from "urbanity" values and the sharing of public spaces. How have local authorities translated the requirements and objectives of national laws? And how have they accounted for the evolution of these global objectives and the increasingly complex issue of coordinating urban development and transportation? What factors explain innovation and continuity in the relationship between land-use planning and transport policies? In this study we focused on the question of political change by comparing the "trajectories" of four urban areas: Geneva and Bern in Switzerland and Strasbourg and Bordeaux in France. Many empirical studies in political analysis have emphasized the importance of the long-term in identifying elements of continuity in political processes, assessing the reality of change, and stressing the interplay between national and local authorities (Fontaine and Hassenteufel, 2002; Kay, 2005). In this work, we have described the "policy paths" of the four aforementioned urban areas since the end of the 1960's by focusing on the contents of master plans, the principal technical solutions and projects that have been implemented, and the means of inter-sectorial coordination used. To do so, we have done a detailed analysis of numerous documents (laws, plans, technical studies, political documents, etc.) as well as semi-directive interviews with local actors. For each case, factors of change or inertia have been identified by focusing on three main variables that are often studied alternatively in public policy analysis: ideas, institutions and interests, or the "Three I's" as termed by Palier and Surel (2005). This paper presents the main results that emerged from a comparative analysis of these local dynamics. In exploring this first dimension, we have brought into question the influence of ideas, values, and standards on public policy and in the problem of the formulation or choice of solutions. We have shown, for instance, that urban or ecological values do explain differences in the ways of coordinating transport and land-use policies in Switzerland and in France; furthermore, this influence varies between cities based on geographical and "cultural" variables. We then focused on the role of the institutions (i.e. formal organizations) that regulate and structure local political systems. Our empirical observations led us to give less importance to the influence of institutional reform as a means of achieving more integrated policies: although institutions do influence political choices and explain differences among the four cities, we maintain that changing local institutions alone is not in itself an effective means of changing policies. The last variable concerns the interests of actors involved in political processes, as well as their strategic negotiations and interactions. We found that coordination between transport and land-use planning results from conflicts between areabased and reticular approaches to territorial development. Furthermore, we underline the role of economic factors in the negotiations between city centres and the suburbs, specifically in the context of cross-border urban areas (Strasbourg and Geneva).
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Caroline Gallez, Christophe Guerrinha, Vincent Kaufmann, Hanja-Niriana Maksim, Mariane Thébert. Land-use Transport Systems: Comparing Local Policy Dynamics in Swiss and French Urban Areas. 12th World Conference on Transport Research Society, Jul 2010, Lisbonne, Portugal. 20p. ⟨hal-00615152⟩



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