Sustainable mobility in the low carbon city: Digging up the highway in Odense, Denmark
Abstract Cities around the world are facing the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting urban sustainability. If comprehensive low-carbon development of cities is to be possible, transportation, as a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, is a particularly important sector to address. Major changes to transport behaviour and systems will be required in order to secure a shift to sustainable modes of transport and removal of infrastructure that reinforces unsustainable patterns of transportation. This paper examines the links between low-carbon urban development and sustainable mobility, with reference to the case of Odense, Denmark. With a reputation as a city of cyclists, Odense has recently closed a highway that divided central districts of the city, and is constructing a new tramway in its place. Results from a qualitative study, including interviews with individuals active in local policy processes, provide insights into Odense’s experiences and inform analysis of the influences on municipal strategies and plans for sustainable mobility, questioning if climate change need be the primary focus when designing policies to enable low-carbon urban development. Highlights Odense is a leading city for sustainable mobility and in particular cycling. Odense is replacing a highway through its inner city with a tramway. Urban sustainability, rather than climate change, is central to strategic visions. Low-carbon development is facilitated by strategies promoting sustainable mobility and urban sustainability. Cross-party consensus and committed individuals are key factors influencing strategy and policy.
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