As the field of transportation design is continuously changing, towards user accessibility, it is more and more important to understand the needs of those living in a city. At UID, the City of Umeå and car manufacturer AUDI co-designed a project brief for master students exploring the possible tensions between what urban planners believe our mobility needs will be, and the goals from a private premium car manufacturer.
The students got input from city planners working with urban mobility explaining the benefits by promoting densification in city growth. Umeå also promoted “physical literacy”, i. e. awareness on how important physical activity is for people’s health and wellbeing, and for decisions for the development of public mobility infrastructure in new car-reduced neighbourhoods.
The research questions proposed by Audi was, for example, what influence society will have on its mobility options and what does it mean for transportation design? The students visualized several mobility scenarios in connection to the city, with focus on sustainable development. The solutions would be of value for users in cities similar to Umeå, respecting sustainable goals, and the aspirations of Audi as a brand.
Continuous work on gender equality is crucial for a successful urban development with socially sustainable growth. The work needs to be based on a holistic understanding of how gender inequality is created in the specific place, in other words, of what we call “the gendered landscape” of the city. This is an innovative way of showing how the work with gender equality changes and reforms the city. The method is the first of its kind in Europe and last year, Umeå was selected to lead the first ever URBACT network dedicated to gender equality. In this network, the partner cities from across Europe will explore how this method can be developed into action plans that can be used in the cities as a basis for understanding the core issues for the city when it comes to working with gender equality.
Under the umbrella of the European Social Progress Index (EU SPI), European cities top-ranked on the index met in Umeå in September 2019. Collectively, the summit formed an international network of city leadership that champions the role of social progress in their countries, shedding light on the pivotal role for cities as creators of social sustainability. More cities are now encouraged to sign the declaration which urges the European Commission to establish the European Capital of Social Progress Award.