Ueli Haefeli: Verkehrspolitik und urbane Mobilität. Deutsche und Schweizer Städte im Vergleich 1950-1990. Stuttgart 2008 (Beiträge zur Stadtgeschichte und Urbanisierungsforschung 8). 380 S.
The formation of larger agglomerations is just as much part of the characteristics of modern-day life as the frantic growth of lows of trafic. Modern towns and cities are not conceivable without mobile people, by which it is clear that the negative side-effects of mechanisation have turned into a threat to the urban quality of life.
Future societies will also have to deal increasingly more with the area of conlict of town/city and transport. Even if the historical analysis gives no simple patent recipes or is unable to offer a silver bullet, it is however capable of sharpening the focus on processes, which far too often escape the notice of the decision-makers. The mobility systems in the large Swiss cities/towns are considered as a model internationally. The historical comparison with German towns/cities shows differences in a new light and puts established transport-scientiic explanation approaches into perspective:
less decisive were economic factors or the greater public-transport afinity in Switzerland. Many more factors were determined beyond actual transport policy: thus for instance, car-friendly inancing mechanisms for transport infrastructure in Germany and the mechanics of the semi-direct democracy in Switzerland, which prevented key projects for cars, unlike Germany, in the 1960s.
The current publication, which has been slightly modiied, is based on the professional dissertation of the author, which was submitted in 2006 at the University of Berne. HAEFELI comes to the conclusion that the way into the future of the town/city is still via the car, a result of which will be signiicantly shaped by advantages. Decisive are thus of course the issues, such as for example: how dominant is the car in the city of the future? Is it leading to a genuine co-existence with other modes of transport? How much mobility do we want to afford and how much trafic should be linked with it? In conclusion, HAEFELI sums up that institutional reforms do not contribute alone to improving municipal mobility systems. In his opinion, a lot more depends on whether the local societies are in position to carry out a relected discourse on mobility.
Thomas J. Mager