“We have always looked at infrastructure design from a purely functional point of view,” said Martin Gate, a mobility strategist from the municipality of Rotterdam. But his opinion recently changed: Infrastructure should also be exciting. Guit will talk about this during the National Parking and Mobility Conference, on October 14 in Rotterdam.
Earlier this year, Guit was inspired by a lecture from experienced researchers Mark van Hagen and Mel Hellijers, he says excitedly. The waterfall of the Rotterdam speech began: “It was really something interesting to me.” He summarizes it: “The message was: The way people experience infrastructure is perhaps more important than function. Traffic engineers and engineers often view infrastructure in a purely functional way: it must be sober, secure, and efficient. By manipulating expertise and discretion, you increase the attractiveness of City. You can design a city completely differently with that.”
So while Rotterdam, with its famous Central Station, has a very good example of a piece of infrastructure where the experiential value is high. Guit: “Van Hagen also mentions Rotterdam Centraal as a good example of exciting infrastructure. Ten to twenty years ago nobody wanted to take a train to Rotterdam. Now every Rotterdam is proud of it. It has become a beautiful entrance to the city. So we are really on the right track.” .
But the city isn’t over yet, he continues. Take Churchill Square. This is a very busy regional metro node, but it’s nearly impossible to find the entrances from the outside. We must not hide the stations underground, but we must make them visible even in St. Petersburg, where the stations are like cathedrals. Make passenger flows in public spaces visible by using modern escalators.”
So Guit’s new philosophy is: “Start with functionality, then go to cuteness.” Exciting infrastructure, mentions the term again. “My position is: Good infrastructure is a prerequisite for achieving other policy goals. With good transport points where people can connect to all modes of transport, you will eventually have fewer cars and more pedestrians and cyclists in the city. That is the approach from the point of view of the development of the area, but the theory of van Hagen and Heiligers only reinforces it.”
A comprehensive article will be published in the next issue of OV magazine where Mark van Hagen, Mel Helgers and Martin Gate will discuss this topic in more detail. Would you like to receive this item at home? Then take a subscription.
National Congress Parking and Mobility
The municipality of Rotterdam will host the National Parking and Mobility Conference on October 14, which focuses on the mission of changing parking in the city. Here, too, there should be a greater focus on experience, Gates says. “We look differently at commuting, and therefore at parking as well.”
Martin is one of the speakers at the event as he talks about how mobility can contribute to the city’s higher goals. Bastien Peggi will discuss the short and long term strategic parking mission in Rotterdam. Your challenges won’t be much different.
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