Urban Transport in Strasbourg and Geneva
Over the last two decades, urban planning has been relaunched in several European countries. Beyond common tendencies underlying the reform of planning procedures (generalization of sustainable development, reorganization of local government), large differences appear in practice, that result from differences in political cultures, planning traditions and local contexts. Based on the case-studies of Strasbourg (France) and Geneva (Switzerland), this article discusses the role of urban planning and its evolution over the last four decades. It focuses on the coordination between transport and urban planning policies, which is generally viewed as a major condition of success of urban sustainable development strategies.
What are urban plans used for? Are they used to guide local policies or implement urban governance? Both case studies show that planning procedures form a part of the policy-making process. They are not elaborated before or independently from the policies they are supposed to guide. Comparative analysis reveals important differences in the institutional factors and interests that govern local changes in the coordination of transport and urban planning. However, ideas underlying those questions are mostly similar in the two urban areas, as a result from the influence of widely spread doctrines. Torn between the renewal of public policy goals and the outcome of new territories, the reform of urban planning is in fact highly contradictory. Limited either to the stipulation of norms or to the legitimization of local policies, sustainable development, especially, fails to be addressed as a real political problem.