How Sustainable Urban Mobility, Public Space and Architectural Heritage Can Lead to a Healthier Urban Environment in Xi’An

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Submission Summary
Xi'An is one of the largest cities of China today and the former capital – Chang’An – of one of the four ancient civilizations in the world. It has a long history of 6,000 years and a rich cultural heritage, as it was once the capital of 13 dynasties in ancient China and the first city in History to have reached more than one million people. Today,Xi'an has emerged as a modern metropolis, at the heart of Shaanxi Province, and is one of the 9 most important and largest cities of the country. Rapid demographic growth and economic development have made traffic congestion one of the main obstacles of the quality of life in Xi’An, affecting its 12 million citizens. However, the unique historical and architectural heritage of Xi’An provides to the city a strong identity in China and is a major resource in modern urbanism as public spaces, parks, neighborhoods, major roads and transport systems can benefit from the city’s History. This session aims to explore the links to be made between sustainable urban mobility and transport, a unique historical heritage, modern public spaces and a better livability for Xi’An population. How can the quality of a transport system form a winning synergy with the protection of historical and cultural heritage? The question is a major topic of interest for the local authorities of the Municipality of Xi'an. Three original causes of traffic congestion have been identified in Xi'an: The rapid urbanization and motorization conflicts with the slow growth of the public transport network development, comparatively with the size of the city. The rapid spatial growth of Xi’An influences the expansion of the transport networks and the constant increase of commuting distances. The landscape of the city and new discoveries of ruins related to Xi’An History are restricting the development of the transportation network, creating therefore multiple bottleneck areas and related congestion. Mr LI Qi (director of Xi’An Urban Planning & Design Institute) and Mr ZHU Kai (transport planning expert, Xi’An Urban Planning & Design Institute) will introduce the related challenges identified in Xi’An and their four strategies to improve urban mobility in a more sustainable way: Encourage a greener and healthier mobility Optimize the road network for a better use Manage car traffic demand with appropriate parking policies Innovate in intelligent traffic management methods They will illustrate those strategies with specific case studies in Xi’An linking public space, mobility and heritage conservation. Sebastien Goethals (director of Citilinks) will then introduce a few perspectives on how healthy urban mobility can be achieved at the city level and at the street level. He will illustrate how urban environment and street design can be enhanced for more walkability and connectivity between multiple transport modes: public transport, walking, cycling, car-sharing, ride-hailing. The potential impacts of the current transition of the transport sector (decarbonation, digitization, sharing, automation) will be illustrated with international references. He will demonstrate then how smart intermodality and parking management can be approached to increase the space dedicated to pedestrians (and healthy human activity in general) and how it impacts public space design. The three experts will then present a practical case of space transformation proposal in Xi’An, as a synergy between smart and healthy urban mobility, livable public space and the preservation and celebration of a unique historical heritage
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3: Planning for Urban Connectivity
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Urban Planning & Design Institute
Senior engineer
Xi'an Urban Planning & Design Institute

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