Energy Cities proposition 32 - Transform railway stations into territorial structuring hubs

Urban planning as a way of reducing energy use

2014

Energy Cities l’association européenne des autorités locales en transition énergétique

Energy Cities is a network of more than 1,000 cities in 30 different countries. Convinced that energy transition is more than a question of renewable energy or advanced technologies, Energy Cities proposes to use resources in a reasoned way, to strengthen local participation and to improve the quality of life in a democratic Europe. In 2014, the network presents 30 proposals for the Energy Transition of Territories.

They are a source of inspiration to think and act differently. To finally turn the page on unsustainable practices that lead us into energy, climate and perhaps economic and social dead ends.

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Energy Cities proposition 32 - Transform railway stations into territorial structuring hubs

The problem at hand

European cities historically developed around their market places which is what makes many town centres so attractive. In the last fifty years, the car culture has transformed motorway junctions on the outskirts of cities into temples of consumerism with hypermarkets as their focal points. Highways have structured urban and peri-urban space based on the conviction that private cars would be eternal. Energy use increased drastically, and so did local pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. Many cities are still struggling to find the places on which to base urban life in the future.

What about railway stations?

A railway station is not just a place where trains pull in and out. It is an interface between the city and the outside world, that is, other cities, the suburbs and the surrounding villages. It is a crucial exchange point for pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers as well as bus, tram and train passengers.

Proposal

The urban and peri-urban travel flows, regardless of the means of transport used, should be organised so as to be connected to railway stations.

These will be attractive places offering all sorts of activities: shops, leisure and tertiary services, as well as cultural and life activities. The combination of both dimensions will make railway stations major structuring hubs in cities and decisive instruments for reducing energy use.

Conditions for success

  • Thinking about the railway station as a critical urban planning and intermodality component, and not just as a transportation place.

  • Not letting railway companies alone decide on station design and connection to the urban fabric.

  • Considering that train traffic is going to develop, generating important flows around stations.

  • Thinking from a peri-urban point of view to facilitate access to railway stations for people from the surrounding towns and villages.

Références

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