Message from INTA president : Dear colleagues and friends, The pandemic strikes us painfully and jeopardizes our achievements with regard to our urban life and, as we can see very clearly today, our collective and interdependent society. About three weeks of confinement ats home and we realize the importance of having unrestricted access to the world around us and to be able to communicate with others without worries. We all hope to quickly resume this social life, which the epidemiological data seem to contradict, however.
Fernando Nunes Da Silva, new INTA president
Dear colleagues and friends,
But apart from this personal vision as everyone tries to live in these troubled times and overcome the limitations that go with it, there are facts that encourage us to reflect on our way of life and of relationship with this planet where we live and for which there is no substitute. The satellite images are rather exxplicit: since the start of the pandemic the clouds of pollutants in the atmosphere over the big cities and metropolises cleared enormously and for the first time in decades the air becomes breathable in several cities of the industrialized world where traffic congestion was a daily constant. However, these results are not the result of successive environmental agreements, but of the paralysis of the economy and of our urban and social life.
The post-crisis recovery will be long. There is another world in front us, but one in which we don’t want to live in the future. It is the total upheaval of our living together, with disastrous consequences for the least protected or prepared, whether individuals or businesses, with social, economic and financial costs that we will not be able to cover without profound changes.
- To the fierce competition we will have to oppose cooperation and solidarity.
- To the seemingly limitless consumption we will have to rethink our needs and rationalize our trips.
- To a alife lived at ever higher speeds and centered on the immediate and the emergency, we are discovering the time flowing quietly, sometimes even too much, and the awareness of what is really important.
Suddenly we understand better the values that make our society a more human and united environment. We realize that, beyond ideologies and beliefs, we depend more on the others, and especially on our public health systems and the organization of supplies, without which the future cannot be envisaged. We understand better the sacrifice of those who continue to work for us on a daily basis, sometimes risking their own lives.
On the other hand, we are witnessing the acceleration of technologies that allow us to stay in touch and to ensure that part of our living system continue to work, even in a more reduced way. It will be an experience which will certainly have consequences in the organization of our service-based economies - production or distribution and urban logistics. But there will also be upheavals in the way we look at and manage urban mobility. The trauma of this epidemic will take time to be overcome and shared mobility will suffer from withdrawals, while public transport will have to adapt to guarantee the individual living space demanded by users and individual transport will regain a share of the travel market. However, the need for motorized travel can decrease if one takes advantage of the lived experience these days of local supply, streamlining of shopping and teleworking.
Local officials, city managers and private sector stakeholders will be called upon to reflect on all these events. We must learn the necessary lessons and be at the forefront of the proposals that will allow us to face these new social and economic contexts, and at the same time commit to finding the means to give potential to innovative experiments that are underway.
Our association is thus called to contribute to this collective effort. Through our experience, our history and our commitments in urban issues, we have an incredible capacity which is put to the service of our fellow citizens. We are counting on you all!
Fernando Nunes da Silva, President of INTA
Who is Fernando Nunes Da Silva?
Professor, IST University of Lisbon, Portugal
Mr. Nunes da Silva is a full Professor of Urban Planning and Transports at the IST (Superior Institute of Technology), University of Lisbon since 2002. He gained his PhD (1992) and Pos-Doc (2000) in Civil Engineering by the former Technical University of Lisbon.
His Main professional interests include: urban strategies for sustainable mobility; urban planning; transportation planning.
He has gained experience as an advisor and consultant in transport and urban planning studies and projects in several municipalities and regional bodies; he is a researcher at CESUR (Centre for Urban and Regional Systems); he was also a councillor and deputy mayor for Mobility and Transport in Lisbon Municipality (2009/13).