Propolis - Planning and Research of Policies for Land Use and Transport for Increasing Urban Sustainability

The objective of PROPOLIS was to research, develop and test integrated land use and transport policies, tools and comprehensive assessment methodologies in order to define sustainable long-term urban strategies and to demonstrate their effects in European cities.

PROPOLIS was a research project within the Fifth Framework Programme of the EC. It belongs to the Thematic Programme "Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development" and it’s Key Action "City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage". DG Research and national organizations from six countries – Finland, Germany, UK, Belgium, Italy and Spain – funded it.

The project objectives, for the most part, have been achieved. The project has further developed the comprehensive approach for the assessment of sustainable urban development. Also, new methodologies and tools have been developed and successfully applied for analysing potential urban transport and land use policies and their impacts in the project’s seven case cities of Helsinki, Dortmund, Naples, Vicenza, Inverness, Bilbao and Brussels.

The message from the project is clear. The results show that with the growing traffic volumes the sustainability of our cities is environmentally and socially deteriorating despite local plans designed to improve the situation. Only radical actions can maintain the current level of sustainability. The land use and transport subsystems must be viewed as a whole. The sustainability of this entire system can be improved by offer ing better public transport services while restricting car use and providing supportive land use policies. Following these lines will, as demonstrated in the seven PROPOLIS case cities, simultaneously enhance the environmental and social dimensions of sustainability while being also economically efficient – improve our cities of tomorrow.

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