How to thrive in cities? Re-think public spaces

20 September 2022

During the pandemic, remote working led many to rediscover their neighbourhoods, their local community and take a new look at public spaces. Suddenly, living near an area where one could walk, socialise, shop and interact with others became a sought-after element of urban life. 

The need to re-think city spaces to make them more hospitable and welcoming for their residents is one of the main themes of this year’s European Mobility Week, together with people, packages, planning and policy.  

European cities offer plenty of examples of how the restructuring of urban places has led to both green and social improvements.

In Slovenia, a recent project turned Ljubljana’s main street from a hub of noise and air pollution into an urban haven. Read how Slovenska Cesta is now an area where residents can stroll peacefully, cycle safely and run errands in a peaceful surrounding: 

Slovensta Cesta. Photo by N.Rovan.

Next, learn about Florence’s ongoing plan to turn its centre into a pedestrian, cycling and e-mobility area where the city’s legendary beauty can shine in a car-free environment: 

Sustainable mobility is a large box and includes a lot more than cycling and walking. In Utrecht, the local waterway serves as a green and healthy pathway from the central station to the city centre: 

The greening of urban spaces is another crucial step in cities’ sustainable restructuring. Trees absorb CO2 emissions, help bring down boiling-hot temperatures and improve biodiversity. What if we could combine nature with active mobility and have it all in one package? Grenoble did just that. Learn how it stood out from the crowd with an overhaul that improved air quality, sustainable mobility and energy efficiency, earning the title of 2022 European Green Capital: 

If you’d like more, see how in Lisbon the municipality and local university partnered on a greening project to ‘Recover the street life in a climate-changing world’: 


Daniela Berretta Eurocities Writer