Paris City Summit

Hôtel de Lauzan at Île-Saint-Louis
Photo: Emilie Chaix – Ville de Paris

The Autonomy Paris City Summit which was organized in partnership with POLIS Network, and the City of Paris, hosted an interactive high-level event for political leaders in charge of mobility in leading cities at the Hôtel de Lauzun on Île Saint-Louis in the historical heart of Paris. 

25 deputy mayors, regional ministers and secretaries of state for mobility shared and discussed their perspectives on greener and more inclusive forms of urban mobility. The conversation ranged across topics linked to ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the mobility sector, road safety concerns and how to wean away from predominant existing fuel sources.

Key Focus of the Paris City Summit 

Delegates spoke about how to translate political dialogue into real on the ground, climate action. They delved deep into the challenges that lie ahead and potential solutions for decarbonising mobility. 

“It is up to us, metropolises, regions, cities, and territories, to continue and intensify our efforts to transform and decarbonise mobility,” said David Belliard, Deputy mayor of Paris on Public Space, Transport and Mobility.

 

“Paris has spurred a whole new way of thinking about urban design; I feel we are at the birthplace of some of the concepts we are talking about today. Our collaboration with our peers across the Channel is crucial,” said Seb Dance, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, “In London, we are adapting road user behaviour, perhaps paving the way for others to take a similar approach.”

 

“Cities are a team; we cannot feel alone in this transformation. We are all working towards the same goal,” said Janet Sanz Cid, Deputy Mayor for the City of Barcelona. 

 

“People want action; they want to see change. They do not vote for politicians for them to hide, they want them to act,” said Elke Van den Brandt, Minister for Mobility for the Brussels Capital Region

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Reallocating urban spaces

One of the challenges discussed was the process of reallocating space towards more sustainable transport, implementing active travel infrastructure and adjusting urban freight flows. One such example can be seen in Barcelona, which has redesigned itself to accelerate public transportation. Barcelona has also shown that redesigning urban spaces is highly valued by citizens through its Superblock initiative, which is a network of green hubs and squares where pedestrians have priority. 

Paris has also taken a similar approach by closing certain streets to motorized traffic. There are over a 100 streets in Paris across different neighbourhoods that are pedestrianized. 

Engaging citizens

Another key challenge discussed was how local and regional authorities can work together with citizens to implement sustainable mobility solutions in cities and regions. London and Brussels discussed how they are using targeted messages to incentivize transport users to switch to more sustainable choices of mobility. London is creating a Low-Emission Zone and developing an Ultra-Low Emission Zone to improve air quality and transform the way traffic moves across the city.

Cities Present at the Paris City Summit

The diversity in cities was incredible, some of them included London, Paris, Buenos Aires, Brussels, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Reggio Emilia, Częstochowa, as well as regions like Noord-Holland and Baden Württemberg. Even though the complexities of mobility challenges in the different cities and regions vary, it is still evident that having important discussions like this can result in solutions being tailored to address specific challenges unique to individual cities or regions. 

Bike ride in Paris

After the political discussions amongst the different city officials, an incredible bike ride was planned by the City of Paris and the Syndicat Autolib’ et Vélib’ Métropole, which provided Vélib-bikes for all participants. This wonderful experience was organized thanks to the cabinet of David Belliard, Deputy Mayor of Paris on Public Space, Transport and Mobility, who also happened to lead the bike tour! David Belliard took us for a tour across different historical neighbourhoods in Paris, including Rue de Rivoli and Place de la Concorde, as well as down new bike lanes at Quai des Tuileries and Quai François Mitterrand, right up to the river bank pedestrian zone until Pont Marie. 

In order to ensure that all the participants on the bike ride were safe, we had our partner Overade provide incredibly protective foldable helmets. The bike ride was a perfect way to end our interactive City Summit in Paris, since it was a great opportunity to connect with each other while biking and witnessing first hand the micro mobility options that the city has to offer. 

Secretary General of POLIS & Founder of Autonomy’s Views

“This summit offers a unique platform for local and regional political leaders holding the mobility portfolio to talk to each other, be inspired by each other’s successes as well as join forces to address barriers, while challenging each other to be ambitious in the big transport transformation ahead of us”, said Karen Vancluysen, POLIS Secretary General.

 

“The Paris City Summit could not have happened at a more important time. The idea behind the summit is to get cities together to discuss ways of reducing energy-intensive car use. The main motivation for starting Autonomy was to play a positive role in slowing global warming from transport emissions, and as unfolding global energy insecurities look to have ramifications for cities and regions, we see the need for sustained and concerted action. Now is not a time to take our eye off the ball,” said Ross Douglas, founder and CEO of Autonomy.

The entire list of political leaders that participated in the summit can be found below.

  • David Belliard, Vice Mayor, Ville de Paris 
  • Elke Zimmer, State Secretary, Region of Baden-Württemberg 
  • Janet Sanz Cid, Deputy Mayor, City of Barcelona 
  • Nora Abete, Deputy Mayor, City of Bilbao 
  • Elke van den Brandt, Minister for Mobility, Brussels Capital Region 
  • Samu Márton Balogh, Mayor’s Chief of Staff, City of Budapest 
  • Piotr Grzybowski, Vice-Mayor, City of Czestochowa 
  • Philip Broeksma, Vice Mayor, City of Groningen 
  • Bertrand Ayral, Vice President for Mobility, La Rochelle Agglomeration 
  • David Dessers, Deputy Mayor, City of Leuven, and POLIS President 
  • Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, London 
  • Claire Holland, Vice-Chair, Transport and Environment Committee, London Councils 
  • Juan Corro Beseler, Chief Innovation Officer, EMT Madrid 
  • Federico Jiménez de Parga, General Coordinator of Mobility, Madrid City Council 
  • Jeroen Olthof, Deputy for Mobility and Accessibility, Province of Noord-Holland 
  • Carlotta Bonvicini, Alderman for Sustainable Policies, Comune di Reggio Emilia 
  • Eugenio Patanè, Deputy Mayor for Mobility, Roma Capitale 
  • Andrei Novikov, Deputy Mayor, City of Tallinn 
  • Marja Ruigrok, Member of the Executive Board, Amsterdam Transport Region 
  • Manuela Lopez Menendez, Secretary, City of Buenos Aires 
  • Maína Celidonio, Secretary, City of Rio de Janeiro

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