Compact cities prioritise access for people to goods and services. People in compact cities (or compact city centres) have a higher propensity to walk and bicycle, not out of compulsion but because the conditions support walking, cycling and public transport. Compact cities, encourage walking and cycling primarily through better land-use policies that favour higher density, diverse land use and a design favouring walking and cycling enabling better access to public transport. By influencing the spatial structure of locations in the urban environment, land use planning can contribute to reducing vehicle kilometres travelled resulting in less congestion, pollution and emissions - a key objective of CitiCAP. Transport policies that encourage walking, cycling and public transport, support compact city structure and contain the trips within the city. That is why it is so important to link land use planning with transport policy. The SUMP process aims to bring these two elements together and is why the European Commission encourages their uptake in urban areas across the region but does not prescribe how this should be done.
The European Commission encourages cities, notably through EU Projects like CitiCAP as well as through guidance, to scale up efforts to make public services user-friendly and reduce the administrative burden as studies show that service design often does not meet the expectations of citizens and businesses, who require more usability, responsiveness and transparency, reflecting the different needs of users and the variety of activities public services encompasses. Weak service design, planning and high administrative burden often leads to non-use or non-take up by citizens and businesses of public services and the benefits available to them. This is why the co-creation aspect is so fundamental to the success of the CitiCAP project.
The profound understanding of end users, including specific groups, are an important element of SUMP development but also other elements of CitiCAP, such as the personal carbon trading scheme, because if it is to be successful the city will need to meet the sustainable mobility needs of citizens and businesses so that they do not have to rely on private cars. Co-creation of public services in this context is a public service that is provided by government, citizens, NGOs, private companies or individual civil servants, in collaboration with government institutions, based on government or non-government data or services. It requires public service actors to engage with stakeholders in the design, production and delivery phases of SUMPs, to gather the necessary user insight, re-define their operational processes and identify appropriate sustainability models to deliver an effective high quality mobility service, which is different to a ‘simple’ stakeholder consultation process. This is why the Commission encourages cities to adopt such approaches but SUMPs are not mandatory in Finland. Cities therefore need to look at innovative ways to integrate them into their formal governance structures and processes which this Zoom In will focus on.