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ECE summer school 2017 – Combining spacial planning and mobility with MobINE

Every summer, the ECE summer school offers 30 international students the possibility to attend a three-week lecture period in Switzerland. Organized and coordinated by the Swiss Study Foundation, this year’s event is focused on the sustainable transformation of the current energy and mobility systems. Appropriately, SCCER Mobility appears as supporter for conveying lecturers and content for the events. MobINE as one of the SCCER-Mobility research groups contributed an excursion in Zurich, aiming at elaborating the issue of interdependencies of mobility and spatial development. This complex interplay can be observed very well in and around Zurich, a busy metropolitan area dealing with numerous spatial challenges.

After a short introduction at the ETH main building and having elaborated the possible development scenarios for Zurich’s university district, we moved on to our first stop: The former garden city of Schwamendingen located in the outskirts of Zurich. It has been subject to crucial expansion since the 1930s, which is also due to the attractive transport situation of this area. We discussed the possibilities to confront these challenges by increasing the population density without compromising resident’s well-being. The existing extensive green spaces were evaluated positively, however the concentration of services and shops in the far off district center (remnant of the concept of the garden city) were not. More spaces for spending time and meeting other people in the residential area itself, like cafés or cohesive parks, would be preferable.

The next stop led us to the highway A1 near Schwamendingen. As the residential areas advanced more and more to the highway from both sides, a roofing system is bound to be installed starting next year. Parks and recreational areas located on the rooftop should connect both sides and create direct and accessible paths for the residents.

Our last stop was the vibrant urban quarter of Zurich West, a big former industrial area located directly in the heart of Zurich. Although some industrial activities are remaining, many new residential and service areas were created in the last few years. Modern architecture, old transportation infrastructure and lively business activities make this area a fascinating melting pot of ongoing structural development in a growing city like Zurich. However, many challenges are aligned to these changes: Segregation and construction activities that do not focus on market needs are only two of the many discussed issues.

During this excursion, the participants, originating from 18 countries, got practical impressions of the relationship between mobility and spatial planning, helping them to understand the complexity and importance of this complex subject.

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