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Feasibility of Concept Y

Recherches en cours

A feasibility study is being carried out with two young town planners, with a view to testing an urban development concept that would allow people living in peri-urban areas in France to reduce the time and cost of daily travel. The aim of the study is to determine the kind of reception that residents, their elected representatives and businesses would give to the idea of establishing innovative mobility practices such as teleworking and car sharing in a local shopping centre.

Acteurs de la recherche


State of the project

First results: end of 2013

Research program theme: ACTION - Receptive spaces and access: what sustainable mobility policies should we develop?

Shopping centres : new centralities in French peri-urban areas. A sustainable development model that relies on existing structures and innovative collective practices.

As part of an invitation to tender issued in 2011, the Groupement des Autorités Responsables de Transport (GART), a grouping of French public transport authorities, asked urban development practitioners to reflect on the shape of mobilities in 2020. Concept Y, put forward by Etienne Habera and Clément Jacquemaire, advocated intervening in peri-urban areas around French cities. Journeys and transport costs are both increasing, yet mobility in such areas are eluded in the local transport authorities’ planning process.

Concept Y raises the question of sustainable development in the periphery of major cities. Given the extent of urban sprawl, how can sustainable mobility be provided for everyone? Concept Y starts from the hypothesis that to complete the energy transition, technical solutions and social innovation need to go hand in hand.

Concept Y suggests building on the potential of existing shopping centres, enabling them to become centres for various activities, in order to provide solutions through the organising and sharing of mobility practices in peri-urban areas. Rather than enduring the hardship of commuting to work from the peripheries to the city centre, Concept Y suggests creating an intermediary node, one that could offer renewed mobility alternatives. Located near the main car routes, shopping centres are visited by large numbers of people living in peri-urban areas. The deployment of teleworking centres and car sharing points means that daily travel needs could become a shared exercise, thanks to new and innovative practices within a space that had hitherto been mono-usage.

As a way of supporting a more qualitative development of tomorrow’s mobilities, Concept Y places a question mark over a previous conception of progress. If, before, progress was all about travelling faster and further, perhaps today it’s about being able to choose to travel together and for a shorter time?

Putting into practice an ambitious experiment

Since the start of 2013, the Mobile Lives Forum has been involved in a feasibility study with Etienne Habera and Clement Jacquemaire to test the possibility of introducing a teleworking facility and a car sharing point at a shopping centre. How feasible is such a project? First and foremost, it would require the support of all the major actors in peri-urban areas: residents, in particular, but also the local authorities, businesses and developers. The key issue during the first phase of the experiment is to bring all these actors together and to agree on the future of their territory. An initial study yielded a list of sites that would most benefit from the project, and proposed business plans for developers and companies interested in providing teleworking facilities on these sites. After reviewing the results of the study, Mobile Lives Forum will consider the possibility of financing the experiment.

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Les recherches sur la transition s'intéressent aux processus de modification radicale et structurelle, engagés sur le long terme, qui aboutissent à une plus grande durabilité de la production et de la consommation. Ces recherches impliquent différentes approches conceptuelles et de nombreux participants issus d'une grande variété de disciplines.

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