Time, mobility, and sustainability: an opportunity to increase resilience

Local and Regional Time Agenda

time mobility and sustainability background

Today, social discontent and the climate emergency mean time policies have a role to play. On the one hand, historical and current data indicate that people would prefer to reduce the time they spend commuting, and data point to deep disparities among people around the world, particularly between men and women, the social classes and urban and rural areas. Currently, inhabitants of some Latin American cities spend more than four hours a day —20% of their time— commuting. In Europe, commuting time is between one and two hours, representing 10% of daily hours. In the 21st century, politicising time is a matter of urgency. It is essential that public institutions dedicate effort to imagining, developing and implementing time policies for their citizens, to ensure the right to time for everyone and increase the resilience of communities. On the other hand, time policies can positively affect sustainability and decrease our collective carbon footprint by designing proximity services and more resilient cities to promote sustainable mobility.

Most local and regional governments deal every day with questions related to time and mobility. How can we shift the mobility paradigm, which has moved from “faster and cheaper” to “slower and closer”? How can we deal with the rush hour? How can we encourage timely, sustainable mobility outside big cities? How can we build 15-minute cities and closer and interconnected regions? How can urban planning integrate the perspectives of gender and time? Time policies are a direct answer to all these issues.

This Agenda provides more than thirty time policies from Europe and Latin America to inspire a more timely sustainable mobility in the 21st century. It gives visibility to implementable practices from various realities, from big cities to rural areas, and includes metropolitan and regional dimensions.

Preface to the Agenda

Redefining the relationship between Time and the City
“Urban inequalities are complex, but time can also be a measure for good. Time allows us to identify the most vulnerable communities, as they are often the most time poor. [...] Time captures geographical frontiers in a way that distance alone cannot, and is closely entwined with economic and social inequities.”
Craig Laird
Advocacy and Partnerships, City Resilience Global Programme, UN-Habitat
Urban time policies and mobility: on the road to “Sustimability”
“Urban time policies have an important role in creating a unified framework to regulate the mobility times in the city. Embracing sustainable objectives means putting quality before quantity and shifting priority from material to temporal prosperity. It requires transforming our breathless, functional cities into convivial ones [...].”
Emmanuel Munch
Research Officer for the French Ministry for Ecological Transition. Laboratoire Ville Mobilité Transport, Université Gustave Eiffel
Time for life: a contextualised reflection on the sustainable city
“[There is a] crisis caused, among other things, by the clash between the time(s) needed to sustain life —cyclical and slow— and the vertiginous and linear times of capital and business. This head-on collision carries consequences [...] that are disastrous to people's lives.”
Charo Morán, Yayo Herrero & Helena Pariente
Biologist. Anthropologist. Sociologist. Cooperativa Garúa
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