Rethinking Sustainable Urban Mobility for emerging cities in Latin America - The struggle of increasing automobility in Lima and Bogotá

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http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201911043845
Title: Rethinking Sustainable Urban Mobility for emerging cities in Latin America - The struggle of increasing automobility in Lima and Bogotá
Author: Mickos, Daniel Johannes
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201911043845
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/306717
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: Due to the great need of improving sustainable urban transport and mobility in emerging cities in Latin America, development assistance in the form of Sustainable Urban Mobility planning is currently carried out by national European development agencies and partnerships. This type of assistance is commonly based on successful European experiences and approaches in the field, aiming to decrease both greenhouse gas emissions, poverty and inequality and in the same time to improve accessibility, quality of life and sustainability for the urban citizens. Whilst the model being successful for these purposes in Europe, the emerging nature and different mobility culture of cities in Latin America have experienced different outcomes of Sustainable Urban Mobility planning. The theoretical discussion of this thesis is based on a critical assessment of Modernisation theory and its manifestations in the urban transport sector. The theory would describe the European model of Sustainable Urban Mobility as the “modern”, whereas the mobility paradigm of emerging cities is “yet to be modernised”. This thesis argues that instead of applying the European mobility paradigm on emerging cities, the concept of Sustainable Urban Mobility and its planning models and guidelines need to be contextualised in order to reach the desired outcomes. Through qualitative content analysis of original data from interviews with grassroot level activists, representatives of civil society and non-governmental organisations in the cities of Bogotá and Lima, this thesis shows that the urban structures and mobility culture in the cities differ significantly from the ones in Europe, that lead to different outcomes when applying the European approaches of Sustainable Urban Mobility planning in the cities. The most critical finding is that due to different socioeconomic urban structures, a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increase of accessibility cannot be reached simultaneously in a short-term timeframe, as the poor people in the outskirts currently cannot afford other transport modes than non-motorised “sustainable” transport. Challenges such as urbanisation and corruption are often considered the main problems for the implementation of sustainable transport measures in emerging cities. This thesis shows that instead of solely focussing on these challenges, one should criticise the non-contextualised methods in use for encountering them and suggests a preventive approach for urban development. The conclusion follows: It is not only the guidance documents in use for development assistance in the field of Sustainable Urban Mobility that needs to be contextualised, but the whole concept.
Subject: Sustainable Urban Mobility
urban development
urban planning
urban infrastructure
sustainable transport
modernity
Modernisation theory
Critical theory
Latin America
emerging cities
Global South
Bogotá
Lima
public transport
urbanisation


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