ExWoSt Research Field “Active Mobility in Urban Quarters”



In accordance with the Leipzig Charta for Sustainable European Cities, urban traffic must be compatible with the usage demands of housing, work, the environment, and public spaces. Diverse and lively street spaces create urbanity and are vital for the quality of social life in our cities and urban quarters. Active mobility – walking and cycling as well as skateboarding, roller skating and inline skating – means autonomous mobility, is healthy and relaxing, and offers numerous different experiences in public spaces, both individually and socially. Spending time in public places in urban quarters promotes a people-friendly environment worth living in.

Promoting active mobility addresses the demands and needs of the vast majority of people and also supports those who are on their own and (must) manage their daily life without a car. Persons with reduced mobility require functioning pedestrian paths to use with wheelchairs or walking aids, as well. Suitable transport networks for cyclists and pedestrians are supposed to render socially, environmentally, and climate friendly mobility possible and to make spending time in public spaces a pleasant experience. This especially includes the development and improvement of new or existing infrastructures for pedestrians and cyclists as well as inter- and multimodality, increasing their attractiveness through structural improvements, and systematic information and communication projects.

Promoting active mobility contributes to the improvement of urban quarters on several levels: It strengthens the neighborhood and the existing structures of housing, working, and supply, and it reduces the stress caused by moving and stationary car traffic – pollutants, noise, and space requirements. That way, the promotion of active mobility can contribute significantly to curbing the marginalization and isolation of individual neighborhoods and creating stable, diverse social environments – which should be one of the primary goals of future urban policy in Europe.


Aims and structure of the project:

The ExWoSt research field “Active Mobility in Urban Quarters” deals with a very specific topic at the interface between urban development and transport planning. It aims to prove that integrated action can make it possible for different mobility modes to co-exist intelligently and in a way that is city-friendly, and that it can encourage a positive structural urban development. In different model projects, mobility offers will be developed and public spaces designed in such a way that active mobility is promoted and the urban quarters are better integrated into the urban-regional structure. This includes infrastructures for cyclists and pedestrians as well as rental and cargo bicycle services and their connection to the structure of the neighborhood and public transportation network in order to encourage inter- and multimodal mobility. In cooperation with the Urban and Transport Planning Office Kaulen (Stadt- und Verkehrsplanungsbüro Kaulen, SVK), the ISB provides research assistance on behalf of the BBSR.


Model municipality:

- Stadt Aachen
- Stadt Köln
- Stadt Kiel
- Stadt Leipzig


Commissioned by:

Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) within the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR)


Project duration:

July 2016 – September 2021


Contacts at the ISB:

Dr.-Ing. Andreas Witte
David Kohlrautz