Urban Mobility: What it is, Impact on Architecture and Quality of Life

Everyone has the right to come and go. But part of the population is unable to exercise this right, precisely because they are unable to move around due to urban mobility. They are: those with some type of disability, wheelchair users, visual and hearing impaired, blind, and dumb, among other disabilities.

For this, planning is needed so that urban cities are accessible to all people, in this way, everyone can get around.

In addition, other problems emerged as the arrival of new industries. With this, there was also a migration of people who came from other places to the big cities in search of employment.

However, with this disorderly growth of people, urban cities that did not prepare properly ended up feeling this change.

Thus, the population that needs to move daily, whether to go to work, school, among other places, is the one that suffers the most from all the chaos that big cities have become.

Urban mobility

Appropriate planning is needed so that urban cities are more accessible to all people, whether they have some kind of disability or not.

That is why an urban mobility planning that is linked to the urbanization process of cities is necessary.

Which is?

It can be understood as the way people move around public spaces, urban places, whether individually or collectively, it is also seen as the movement of people in a city with the aim of developing social and economic relations.

It is a topic widely discussed in public policies, being essential in urban planning. Urban mobility is linked to the urbanization process of cities. In such a way as to be part of mobility solutions such as buses, subways, cars and other public transport.

Image 01: Urban mobility is formed by several transport niches.

what is urban mobility

The increase in industries made the rural-city migration accelerate. Thus, this migration was also known as rural exodus. However, this acceleration ended up causing a lot of competitiveness in several areas.

Thus, over time, urban problems worsened. Cities are increasingly losing the ability to allow people to move with quality.

However, something that is contributing to this problem is the increase in vehicles. See some examples:

  • The increase in Brazilian average income in recent years;
  • A very bad quality of public transport;
  • The increase in credits facilitated to the consumer;
  • A historic policy of prioritizing highways;
  • The reduction of taxes on industrialized products.

Brazilian cities are currently able to develop an urban mobility plan based on the use of means of transport to speed up people’s comings and goings, even without harming the environment.

What are the impacts on architecture?

A silent transformation of urban space and its everyday manifestations is happening every day.

Common architecture has been transformed through impositions and introversion of spaces, stereotyped patterns and irrationalities linked to fear and rejection of the other.

Image 02: The increase of highways to increase the circulation of vehicles interfere in the local architecture.

Urban mobility also impacts local architecture

However, it is also considered the consequence of practices and decisions thus making the architecture the effect. So, let’s get to know the thematic axes about the effects of urbanization:

  • Urban Poverty, New Housing Solutions explores the relationships between spatial segregation;
  • The city and environment brings the implications for the ecosystem of the urban form, of the negative externalities of urban expansion on biotic tissues;
  • The responsibilities of the normative sphere;
  • Architecture as an urban form and social dynamics;
  • Polis and the public sphere, the urban conditions of everyday politics;
  • Urban Form and Public Safety investigates its implications and safety conditions.

In this context, architecture has been transformed and has to be standardized. Thus, it will have to incorporate more sustainable references and thus reduce environmental impacts.

Some architects point to a technology that causes less impact and to ensure a more sustainable architecture, this is called “new architecture”.

Urban mobility and quality of life

People have to move around cities to go to work, school and also do other activities. Thus, depending on the displacement, there are direct impacts and increased levels of stress.

It is seen that cities are increasingly modern and this generates a constant growth of people, both residents and visitors. However, this gives access to a limited amount of services and resources. And this can be explained by urban mobility.

Many cities have little public transport. Therefore, people stop attending cultural programs, seeking medical services and even working in certain regions.

Image 03: Traffic is one of the main problems due to the lack of mobility planning, as the excess of individual vehicles on the streets, dangerous roads and irresponsible drivers contribute to the increase in congestion.

traffic is one of the main problems

Everything needs planning

The lack of planning makes people’s daily flows a real chaos, especially during peak hours where the population suffers from crowded buses and subways, not to mention the traffic they face every day.

When planning is done, whether in public transport or creating vehicle-free areas, the movement of pedestrians is facilitated. This contributes a lot to the quality of life, since it reduces the time in queues, traffic and waiting for transport.

Lately, a lot of time is spent in traffic jams and there is no time to pick up the child from school, enjoy dinner with the family and other leisure activities that are impaired.

Mobility actions depend on bold and coordinated actions by the public and private sectors. This requires financing, technological advances, smart policies and innovations. Only then will we create a sustainable environment by improving productivity.

Image 04: The ideal world for a better quality of life here in the country would be to intensify the improvement of public transport so that the number of individual cars would decrease.

quality of life is also synonymous with sustainability

Sustainable urban mobility

For urban mobility to be sustainable it is necessary to go through urban planning. For this, it is necessary to encourage the rotation of cars, the use of public transport, bicycle paths and collective rides.

Image 05: The idea of ​​minimizing the amount of vehicles on the streets is one of the main ideas within sustainable mobility.

Sustainable urban mobility

Urban mobility is directly linked to the type of transport used to move people. However, there is also the concern to facilitate journeys and mitigate environmental impacts caused by fossil fuels that degrade the environment.

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There is also a concern with the integration of these transports with other mechanisms that facilitate displacement, such as:

  • Conveyors with high capacity;
  • Bike paths;
  • Large elevators to support more people;
  • Public bicycles;
  • Cable cars.

So, with these incentives, it would reduce the impacts on nature and help in a better mobilization, an obstacle caused by the excess of vehicles on the streets.

Choosing to use a bicycle would facilitate sustainable mobility. This is due to the fact that this would prevent the emission of pollutants into the air.

Another action that would help a lot would be the creation of urban parks to carry out physical activities and rest for the population.

Image 06: For things to work, it is necessary to keep in mind the tripod of sustainability.

What does the legislation say?

When it comes to urban mobility, legislation can guarantee an effective public policy, but only theoretically.

For this, some laws were created to help improve mobility, they are:

  • The Statute of Cities;
  • Law 12,587/12 (which governs the guidelines of the National Policy on Urban Mobility);
  • Law 13.089/15 (known as the Metropolis Statute);
  • More recent Law 13.683/18, which brought minor changes to the two previous laws.

Image 07: Urban mobility has a cycle that needs to be followed and improved every time there are resources and needs seen.

Municipalities have to meet a series of requirements such as protection of environmental areas, bicycle paths, cycle lanes, and sustainability in public transport, among others.

However, in Brazil there are several challenges of urban mobility that range from passing through traffic, expanding cities to population swelling.

But it is possible to provide a solution for urban mobility here in the country. Some examples are:

  • Expand areas that serve by public transport (buses, subways and trains);
  • Try to diversify the use of transport such as cars, bicycles, buses, motorcycles;
  • Make the schedule of urban activities flexible, such as school activities at one time and commerce at another, to distribute mobility during the day;
  • Encourage collective rides of people heading in the same direction;
  • Using the integration between public ttransportsas the idea of ​​integrating buses with subways.

Mobility and urban development

The sustainability of urban mobility is being compromised due to disorderly urban growth.

Alongside this, there is growing motorization and the decline of public transport and, in this way, the quality of life and the efficiency of the economy of large cities are also influenced.

Image 08: Mobility projects need to follow and predict the next steps that urban development needs.

everything needs to be planned

Economic growth implies higher levels of congestion due to the increase in the fleet and the circulation of vehicles, due to the lack of effective public policies.

So, even with the Ministry of Cities presenting the National Policy for Sustainable Urban Mobility, which elected four strategic axes of action in order to support the programs and projects of the National Secretariat of Transport and Urban Mobility with:

  • Integration of transport policies with urban development policies;
  • Improvement of public transport,
  • Cheaper rates;
  • Rationalization of the use of private vehicles;
  • Valorization of non-motorized means of transport.

Today, public transport in this current model of service provision is lacking, as it is not meeting the needs of the population.

However, it is seen that improvements need to be carried out urgently to incorporate the urban mobility system and promote the sustainability of urban transport.

Mobility with accessibility

Accessibility covers different types of people with different needs and abilities, such as those with hearing or visual impairment and also those in a wheelchair.

Even more, the vast majority of these people depend on public transport to reach places of work and leisure.

Image 09: Access on the streets has still been one of the greatest difficulties for those who need to get around with wheelchairs and even for those with visual impairments.

Urban mobility with access to all

In Brazil, we have elections every two years and the main theme is accessibility. There are thousands of Brazilians who suffer from a physical disability, blind, wheelchair users, deaf, dumb, among others.

However, even if they talk so much about the subject, none of them finds planned support in the streets of big cities, much less in the interior cities.

Thus, it is clear that urban spaces were not designed or created for those with a disability, making thousands of people invisible and excluded.

Tips for improvement

Urban mobility involves urban planning, public health policies, individual and collective transport, technology and a lot of creativity.

Thus, with the various challenges of commuting in cities, Globe launched an urban mobility notebook. This issue contains several articles, interviews and reports on the subject.

So, here are some of the solutions that were presented in this notebook for improvement:

  • Control the impact of new constructions in the city;
  • Choose less polluting fuels;
  • Plan self-sufficient neighborhoods;
  • Implement urban toll booths;
  • Improve sidewalks;
  • Expand bike paths;
  • Develop waterways to use rivers as a means of transport;
  • Change the hours of entry and exit from work;
  • Improve logistics to reduce the number of trucks;
  • Create corridors that integrate different types of means of transport.

There are thousands of people who have become invisible in urban cities precisely because big cities were not designed for them. That is why urban planning is very important.

Image 10: As well as the improvement for wheelchair users, there is also a need to create better public access for the visually impaired.

Urban mobility for the visually impaired

But and you? What do you think about urban mobility in your region? So do not forget to tell us here in the comments what are the difficulties observed and possible solutions to improve the system.


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