Recherche FFJ Research Statement Andrés Borthagaray

Andrés Borthagaray

A new approach for public spaces
of mobility in world metropolises:
design, management and governance
for a social and post-pandemic


Une nouvelle perspective sur les espaces de la mobilité dans les grandes métropoles : design, gestion et gouvernance pour une transition social dans l’après pandémie.


This research explores a new approach for the space of mobility through new urban policies in complex and fragmented governance systems, such as Tokyo, Paris, and Buenos Aires. It will do so on different scales, from urban design to a metropolitan perspective, as an opening for further interdisciplinary research and action on education, mobility, and public space.

Cette recherche explore une nouvelle approche de l'espace de mobilité à travers de nouvelles politiques urbaines dans des systèmes de gouvernance complexes et fragmentés, tels que Tokyo, Paris et Buenos Aires. Il le fera à différentes échelles, de la conception urbaine à une perspective métropolitaine. Le résultat est conçu comme une ouverture pour des recherches appliquées approfondies sur l’éducation, la mobilité et l’espace public.

Research background

The research will summarize how selected issues are affected by institutions, conceptions, and technological evolutions –mechanic, motorized, electrical, digital– shaping public space, which correspondingly structure mobility patterns and behaviors. A reset of urban activities catalyzed by the pandemics and the preexisting digital transition offers a way of rethinking strategies for climate change and social inclusion. Since the Kyoto and Paris agreements, cities had to provide new ways of meeting mobility needs, less dependent on fossil patterns and spatial consequences. This aim has been shily met at best. But in the recent change of habits, urban form and social organization of activities could be seen in a new light and through a particular geographic prism, which could provide a perspective for a drastic and reasoned way forward in dealing with public spaces of mobility. As a thematic appendix, it will consider how research and education are related to the urban mobility space, both in university campuses and research-related clusters, on the one hand, and schools, on the other.

There is abundant literature comparing Latin American cities with European ones, enhanced by linguistic, economic, and cultural as well as by immigration trends, urbanization patterns, and even the exportation of urban solutions (Orillard, 2018). There is also an equally developed production comparing European, North American, and Asian cities (IAU - Institut d’Aménagement et d’Urbanisme, 2018). Latin American, Japanese, and Asian cities are, by contrast, less frequently studied comprehensively.


  • According to social and health conditions, a better understanding of causes, consequences, and mutual determinations about mobility and public space.
  • To assess a comparative approach amid world metropolises, including evolutions in space and time.
  • To formulate a roadmap and a set of guidelines for public spaces of mobility as a strategy for climate and social challenges.

Approaches of the research

The development of a common framework will provide elements for comparing, through the selected cases, Latin America’s extensive metropolitan systems, on the one hand, and large European and Far Eastern urban systems, on the other. It will offer a common ground for bringing together different cultural traditions, planning, and mobility perspectives. It would also provide lessons about responses to the pandemic in contrasting continental contexts.

There will be a particular concern for accessibility, accommodating new demands for walking and cycling, integrating environmental challenges (IPCC, 2018), gender issues, and social inclusion. Decisions during the pandemic could be part of previously conceived plans in some cases. In others, a more reactive response spontaneous demand. In both cases, the analysis will consist of located examples, developed through a set of spatial typologies on the one hand, and selected thematic activities, such as remote work and education, on the other. It will consider different situations within each metropolitan case.

Three metropolitan systems

Paris offers an excellent base for developing a proposed research project. A dynamic transportation network, a governance system in evolution, a constant thought about the built environment, a global academic, cultural, and economic hub, an evolving debate about its future (Grumbach, 2009). It would also offer an observation point in the Condorcet campus itself, which will be part of my proposed research about the space of knowledge and education.

Through this lens, Tokyo offers a singular example in managing transportation and land use in a combined approach to its metropolitan area, its governance, and the mobility system (Suzuki, Cervero, & Iuchi, 2013).

Buenos Aires has been a pioneer in railways, subways, and tramways, with an extensive public transportation network and a walkable grid. But it has a declining share of public transportation because of changes in infrastructure and social habits. In addition, everyday challenges of inequality, poverty, and metropolitan governance affect and mirror the public spaces of mobility (Borthagaray, 2021).

An analytical framework

Based on geographical and demographic information about each case, there will be an analysis of the production of mobility spaces on an urban/metropolitan scale and a closer scale of the built environment. A particular point will assess how land use and mobility infrastructure policies interact with different degrees of formality and anticipation.

  • The reach of public institutions (at metropolitan and local scales) and the role of markets, private and social actors in producing and financing public space of mobility as part of broader urban policies.
  • The environmental and social impacts of technological and breakthroughs on the evolution of relative weights for walking, biking, transit, and different ways of driving.
  • The margins to think and act in explicit and implicit guidelines for metropolitan spatial strategies and concerns for public spaces of mobility.

A matrix of the urban performance of resulting alternative spaces is expected to assess how decision-making, planning, and actual urban development interact in the three metropolitan cases.

Research methods and information sources will include

A summary of the evolution of geographically situated contemporary planning ideas; for example (J. P. Orfeuil & Weil, 2012). An analysis of the way industry and technology conditioned urban evolutions. (Herce, 2013), (J.-P. Orfeuil, 2020). Cross-references, such as a review of JICA missions in Latin American cities (Agencia de Cooperación Internacional del Japón (JICA); Nippon Koei Co., & LTD, 2013); and an analysis of existing comparative studies. (Toussaint, 2014) and global spatial planning and mobility consideration (Angel, 2012) as well as regional indicators. The spatial analysis of human interfaces in different mobility spaces (Jacobs, 1995), (Gehl, 2011) and an overall review of public transportation stations and streets in a post-fossil era (Borthagaray (curator), 2017). A set of examples in each case, identified to meet different typologies, will look closer at data about uses as part of the analysis.

A thematic analysis / appendix

There will be interviews with key researchers on how social trends affect mobility in post-pandemic urban trends, direct observation, and references to existing studies (Glaeser & Cutler, 2021).

Besides strategy for each case, the research will consider general principles about public space (Biennale dello Spazio Pubblico, 2013) and thematic principles of public space from educating cities charter (International Association of Educating Cities (IAEC), 2020).

Expected results

  • To develop roadmaps and guiding principles for public mobility spaces as part of structured urban policies in complex governance systems.
  • To integrate those principles with evolving technologies and social habits as a specific contribution in addressing global warming, social inclusion, and a digital transition.


Agencia de Cooperación Interncional del Japón (JICA);, Nippon Koei Co., L., & LTD, N. K. L. A.-C. C. (2013). Encuesta de recolección de información básica del transporte metropolitano en el área metropolitana de Lima y Callao. Informe final.

Angel, S. (2012). Planet of Cities. Cambridge, Mass.: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Biennale dello spazio pubblico. Public Space Charter, Pub. L. No. Biennale dello spazio pubblico (2013). Italy. Retrieved from

Borthagaray (curador), A. (2017). La mutación del espacio urbano en la era post fósil. Arquis, Revista de Arquitectura de La Universidad de Palermo, 1 (8), 55. Retrieved from

Borthagaray, A. (2021). Buenos Aires, tras las huellas del futuro. Entre urbanismo explícito y decisiones de planeamiento (1958-2018). Buenos Aires: Fundación Tejido Urbano.

Gehl, J. (2011). Life Between Buildings: Using Public Space (6th ed.). Washington DC: Island Press.

Glaeser, E., & Cutler, D. (2021). Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation. New York: Penguin Press.

Grumbach, A. (2009). Seine Métropole, Paris, Rouen, Le Havre. Paris. Retrieved from

Herce, M. (2013). El negocio del territorio. Evolución y perspectivas de la ciudad moderna. Madrid: Alianza.

IAU - Institut d’Aménagement et d’Urbanisme. (2018). COMPARAISON DE RÉSEAUX MASS TRANSIT FRANCILIEN Comparaison de réseaux mass transit francilien et internationaux Avec un zoom sur l ’ accueil de grands événements. Paris. Retrieved from

International Association of Educating Cities (IAEC). Charter of educating cities (2020). Spain. Retrieved from

IPCC. (2018). SUMMARY FOR URBAN POLICY MAKERS: What the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5o means for cities, (December 2018).

Jacobs, A. B. (1995). Great Streets. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Orfeuil, J.-P. (2020). Tech for tech or tech for good? ¿Disrupción por quién y para quién? In Y. Contreras Ortiz & A. Borthagaray (Eds.), Hiperlugares móviles. Actividades conectadas más allá del transoporte. (pp. 39–64). Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Retrieved from

Orfeuil, J. P., & Weil, M. (2012). Grand Paris. Sortir des illusions, approfondir les ambitions. Paris: Scrineo.

Orillard, C. (2018). Acteurs de la « politique française des villes nouvelles » et études à l’export. Histoire Urbaine, 50(3), 143.

Suzuki, H., Cervero, R., & Iuchi, K. (2013). Transforming cities with transit. Transit and Land-Use Integration for Sustainable Urban Development. Washington, DC: World Bank. Retrieved from;

Toussaint, A. (2014). The Consequences of Transport and Land Use Planning for Spatial Exclusion and Social Segregation in Market-Oriented Societies. The New School.