Urban structure has a great impact on transport demand. Approaches that integrate transport and urban planning may cause reduced transport and thus energy savings.
SNOWBALL addresses two major specific barriers:
- the lack of multi-sectoral skills and
- institutional barriers.
Professionals tend to be trained in specific sectoral applications (engineering, urban design, transport modelling, etc.), which can lead to sub-optimal planning solutions. Furthermore, skills such as evaluation of methods, consensus building, and communication are rarely trained.
These additional, complementary skills can often make the difference in successful implementation of new, sustainable planning and design approaches. Key elements for addressing these obstacles include the application of a "change management" programme, the development of a network for experts to discuss their experiences and the identification of best practices.
The main objective of the SNOWBALL project is to provide municipalities with experiences on sustainable integrated transport and urban planning.
Specific objectives of the project are:
- to provide municipalities with experiences and tools to sustainably (re)create urban areas;
- to implement integrated urban planning methods in 6 cities in 4 different countries;
- to disseminate the evaluated project knowledge to other European cities. For this purpose, at least 3 extra cities per country (12 cities in total) will be directly involved through four national quality support groups. Over 300 cities will be targeted by the dissemination activities;
- to reduce the demand for transport, facilitate a modal shift and significantly reduce energy consumption, concentrations of local pollutants such as noise and traffic accidents by the use of integrated planning methods;
- to add value to previous EC actions such as Ecocity, CIVITAS and Cities of Tomorrow.
The expected results of the project are:
- the anchoring of integrated-approach thinking in 6 cities;
- integrated urban plans in 6 cities;
- national quality support groups (expert networks) on integrated planning in 6 countries (Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia);
- a web based toolkit of integrated planning methods;
- identified best practices.
SNOWBALL elaborates mostly on the work that has been carried out by ECOCITY and CIVITAS. Both used the idea of integrated urban planning, and mainly focused on the development of criteria and concepts, and their demonstration. In addition, SNOWBALL is using actual implementation as promising examples for other cities and setting op structures for further dissemination.
SNOWBALL is presented by a group of cities and experts on urban planning. Recent experiences based on demonstration and research (Ecocity) has showed that integrated urban planning will lead to plans of better quality, in terms of energy savings and the environment. SNOWBALL introduces two types of integrated urban planning methods: Local Transport Performance, an area-based approach that reduces energy intensive transport demand, and Drive Slow Go Faster, a corridor based method that improves energy efficiency of traffic by establishing constant reduced speeds.
In SNOWBALL, 6 cities (Verona, San Sebastian-Donostia, San Fernando, Zvolen, Martin and Ludwigsburg) will implement plans following these concepts. The cities are supported by 3 cities (Hilversum, Stockholm, Trnava) that implemented similar plans earlier. Furthermore, quality support groups are set up throughout Europe, to disseminate knowledge and skills on integrated planning. The implementation cities are trained to support other cities later on, thus getting a SNOWBALL effect of integrated planning.
The main achievements of the project are:
- The anchoring of integrated-approach thinking in 5 cities: S. Sebastian-Donostia, S. Fernando de Henares, Ludwigsburg, Zvolen, Martin;
- Integrated urban plans in 5 cities;
- National quality support groups (expert networks) on integrated planning in 5 countries - Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia;
- A web based toolkit of integrated planning methods and best practices.
- Municipalities were provided with experiences and tools for integrated urban planning in three successive Train-the-trainer sessions. These sessions were on communication, Drive Slow Go Fast and Local Transport Performance methods and evaluation methods. These methods, tools, and other best practise examples have been described on the Snowball website available at http://www.steer-snowball.info/;
- A Quality Support Group, formed by experts from the host cities and the technical partners, supported the implementation cities in the process towards their integrated urban plans, by means of Train-the-trainer sessions, technical support during city workshops, and process oriented as well as technical oriented city coaching;
- Three host cities, Hilversum (NE), Trnava (SK), and Stockholm (SW) organised host city meetings in order to show their best practise examples to the implementation cities;
- The implementation of urban planning methods in the five participating implementation cities were achieved by running 25 workshops;
- The five participating implementation cities: Zvolen, Martin, San Sebastian, San Fernando de Henares and Ludwigsburg each implemented one of the integrated urban planning methods. This was described in an urban plan, containing background, the application and the projected achievements in terms of energy saving and reduction of emissions;
- National Quality Support Groups, or national professional networks, were formed in the Snowball project, in Spain, Slovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland. Cities from those national networks have now started implementation Snowball methods, as ‘next generation implementation cities’;
- Evaluation of the five urban plans demonstrated the following:
- Projection of the LTP examples (San Fernando de Henares, San S
The lessons learned from the SNOWBALL implementation, both with regards to local project development and global SNOWBALL project execution are:
- Try to get key actors for your project who are strongly interested in the subject and who have a strong influence in decision making process. This is an critical success factor for a project. The host cities that functioned in the SNOWBALL project all appeared to have such a key actor (person) what explained the success of their projects;
- Try to persuade local politicians to be champions for your project. If this doesn’t work the lack of political support can show-up as a burden for the project involved;
- Try to persuade local decision makers in a creative way. This was done in one of the cities involved in SNOWBALL. It initially led to a success;
- Try to involve all relevant parties in your project. This means that several disciplines, departments, stakeholders participate in the project. Projects will reach a higher quality if this is the case;
- The international technical support for a city implies a grounded knowledge and understanding of several issues in a city. In Snowball this ‘burden’ was taken by a detailed city description and an important task for local experts. If this is needed it is necessary to reserve budget in your project in order to study the city details properly;
- Try to plan your project in good balance with the political timeframe. Long term project will surely face elections and maybe political shifts. Important milestones in the project involved should balance the political timeframe;
- Try to clarify the societal benefits of your project. Clearly the environmental benefits are important for the subsidy of EC-funds. But also information about local benefits is crucial for the success of the project;
- Try to clarify financial aspects of a project. The SNOWBALL project is aiming at implementation. However it is not financing the actual implementation, only the plans how to implement. Financial issues were not included in the project but appear to be crucial for further progress;
- Use communication extensively to promote your project. For the project itself communication via the organization of events is very important. For the spreading of the idea of integrated planning it is important to get the SNOWBALL running.