On its second day, the EcoMobility Dialogues held its first stakeholder dialogue on “Reshaping cities for ecomobility: strategies and tactics”. This day-long session featured perspectives on how the urban landscape is affected by various mobility situations in cities around the world.
The morning session was opened by Cllr Christine Walters, MMC for Transport in the City of Johannesburg with a contextual overview on the legacy of apartheid planning. Building on this, Yondela Silimela (Development Planning Head, CoJ) elaborated on the different measures the City is taking to address spatial inequality through land-use planning and appropriation. Drawing from the experience of the Corridors of Freedom initiative, she highlighted the value of harnessing different energies by working with different role-players such as civil society, property owners, and government to promote densification and connectivity. Beyond this she also highlighted cross-learning partnerships among cities and international parties to align agendas and ideology align for capacity building.
This was picked up after the break when Philip Harrison (University of the Witwatersand) chaired a session featuring international experts on tactical urbanism to discuss how short-term fixes can be turned into long-term solutions. It highlighted measures oriented towards ecomobile cities through opportunities presented by: policy, integrated approaches (with land-use, road systems, natural disaster management, gender, health and air quality), multi-modal institutional arrangements, green building designs, open data, language, as well as citizen engagement to identify mobility needs and innovative solutions.
A panel discussion took place in the afternoon to ground these discussions in a context marked by development challenges of inequality and informality. After all, ecomobility stands for access, equality and inclusion. In addressing this, the potential that small-scale interventions have to incrementally grow political will were unpacked. To drive this the session closed with the need to mobilize and work with various sectors of society – representing different expertise and sectors – to rethink and redesign an urban environment that is vibrant and interconnected. Public space is the cornerstone of an integrated city.
Organized by ICLEI and the City of Johannesburg and sponsored by Hollard insurance Company Ltd, the day saw a great deal of interaction from not only the participants but from social media covering the event.
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