Training course ‘Sustainable Mobility for Happy Cities” in Malaga, Spain

As part of the EU-led CIVITAS CAPITAL project focusing on sustainable mobility, DTV Consultants co-organised a four-day summer course on the topic of Happy Cities. The aim of the project was to aid European cities in achieving their sustainable mobility objectives and capacity-building activities. The course was designed to bring about insights into the effects of sustainable mobility on the quality of life in cities.

The training course took place in the CIVITAS City of Malaga from 07 – 10 June 2016, where over 40 participants from all over the world learned how sustainable mobility may result in happy, healthy citizens in a thriving city.  The programme, designed to equip participants with valuable insights and relevant theories, brought together more than 10 renowned experts and provided practical workshops, assignments, and fieldwork. Through guided tours, practical exercises and a dedicated assignment, participants learned how to apply their gained skills and knowledge in practice.

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Increasing the quality of life

The main strategic objective of the European Commission’s CIVITAS Initiative is to create better cities through researching, testing and disseminating knowledge and practices on sustainable urban mobility. One of the actions resulting from this initiative was the 4-day summer course hosted in Malaga designed to offer an inspiring learning experience for mobility professionals and bring together the latest research from institutes like the OECD and Rotterdam Erasmus University as well as practices from cities such as Nantes, Tel-Aviv, and Bonheiden.

The positive effects of sustainable mobility policies go well beyond environmental and monetary benefits. At the very core of a sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP) is a focus on the quality of life, which includes the level of happiness reported by citizens, their sense of community and connectedness, their physical health, and their mental well-being. Sustainable mobility – i.e. walking and cycling – may provide a large contribution to a happy city with healthy citizens and help create vibrant public spaces where people can meet, and the local economy can thrive. Developing a range of sustainable modes may also create jobs and a well-balanced parking management strategy generates funds while managing the ever-growing pressure that cars put on public spaces.

Experts from all around the world

The summer course aimed to bring about theories and developments in the field of urban mobility, to have participants share their methods, and for tech professionals to apply these methods into practice. To meet this goal, a balanced programme was developed:
experts from all over the world were brought together to teach participants about multiple aspects of sustainable mobility. You may find some remarkable quotes from speakers and trainers below:

Carrie EXTON, OECD: “GDP is not the only indicator for a better life.”

Kaan YILDIZGÖZ, UITP: “The pigeon-car phenomenon: The more pigeons you feed, the more will come. The more roads you build, the more cars will be used.”

Yoav DAVID, City of Tel-Aviv: “It’s important to give Public Transport preference while at the same time providing a good level of service for pedestrians crossing the artery.”

Giuliano MINGARDO, Erasmus University Rotterdam: “There is no connection between parking and turnover of local shops.”

Thomas BLONDIAU, TML – Transport & Mobility Leuven: “The likelihood that a given person walking or bicycling will be struck by a motorist varies inversely with the amount of walking and bicycling.”

Udo MBECHE-SMITH, UN-Habitat: “Access is the ultimate objective of all transportation.”

Lamia ROULEAU TIRAOUI, Nantes Métropole: “Sharing public space is mainly a question of behaviour.”

Guido VAGANÉE, Mayor of the City of Bonheiden: “Happy people make happy people: start with yourself and the world will follow.”

Working together on Malaga’s challenges

During the interactive sessions, the participants tackled some complex mobility and social engagement issues, e.g. setting up a participation process and learning how to promote electric mobility – in a short space of time. They devised possible solutions and shared their dreams of making their cities and their mobility happier and healthier.

To practice with newly acquired insights and knowledge, participants were divided into groups and given assignments formulated by the City of Malaga, all based on actual challenges the City is currently facing. These challenges covered topics spanning from cycling mobility and road safety for schools to the potential conflict between pedestrians and cyclists. All groups undertook site visits guided by city representatives.


At the end of the training course, all groups presented the results of their assignment to a delegation of the City of Malaga chaired by the head of the transport department. All groups made impressive progress and concluded the course with inspiring presentations (which are available here).

This training course has enabled the city of Malaga to use new and fresh insights in the process of tackling their challenges. It has also proven to be a successful and inspiring to the participants: the process of working together empowered participants to share their ideas and devise new innovations and solutions.

Photo in header by Fabian, used under Creative Commons License.