Conceived in 2013, the National Seminar on Urban Mobility reaches its international version in 2014. It has become a benchmark in the debate on how to get the right balance over one of our main urban problems, which until recently was the ‘privilege’ of major cities only.
The halt in investments and the ensuing dismantling of our railways, the easy ways to car purchasing, boosted by the reduction in its IPI (Industrialized Products Tax) and by subsidized fuel prices, was a bomb with a delayed effect which also hit medium-sized cities totally unprepared for this new reality.
What we see today, even in cities with less than 200 thousand inhabitants, are public transport systems struggling to meet with dignity the full needs of a population. We also see lack of investments and not enough political will from the government in creating public policies which really tackle the problem head on. The result is an avalanche of cars in the streets, lack of spaces for pedestrians and cyclists, and unbreathable air due to car fumes.
To discuss such a significant theme is of utmost importance to finding solutions which certainly do not just adopt different means of transport for our cities, but also rethink the use and occupation of soil and the reorganization of our public spaces. In this line of thought, we may be able to shorten distances between home and work, avoid the indiscriminate expansion of cities’ urban perimeters to fulfil financial interests, as well as create new commercial and service hubs with a view to fixing residents within their neighborhood or region.
Taking part in the International Seminar on Urban Mobility is a civic duty to all of us and almost an obligation to architects, engineers and public managers, since discussions of this magnitude can and should generate solutions to empower our cities into the third millennium.
Afonso Celso Bueno Monteiro
Architect & Urbanist
President – Council of Architecture and Urbanism in São Paulo – CAU/SP