The City of Strasbourg is pleased to host this International Conference on “Heritage and Public Transport” which aims to revisit the current paradigm of urban development through two key challenges: the need for an urban identity anchored in the historic urban landscape which inspire contemporary additions and the need for an efficient system of urban mobility connecting the entire city and its territory. Departing from the caricatural conflict between heritage and modernity, the focus will be on how public transport, inextricably linked to other public policies of housing, economic and social development, can support the protection and enhancement of the built and natural environment in a cross-fertilization towards the overall objective of ensuring a “people-oriented” city development.
Committed to “humanizing the city”, the City of Strasbourg is among the first cities in France to have adopted a public transport policy aimed to challenge traffic congestion, atmospheric and noise pollution, as well as the loss of public space leading to the general degradation of the living environment, which plague the citizens of many cities of the world. Its historic centre of international repute, with the World Heritage Grande-Ile at its core, extend beyond into the city with the elegance of the 18th century and eclectic 19th and early-20th century development, have endowed Strasbourg with an exceptional diversity of architectural styles and urban patterns that recount each epoch - the story of its people. The waterways, both natural and man-made flowing into the city from the Rhin River and its tributaries, mark the identity of the city and its surrounding territory that connects man to its natural environment. How to maintain that harmony, while ensuring the exigencies of the 21st century? The ambitious urban projects currently being realized in Strasbourg, particularly the urban renewal actions and eco-city projects will be presented with the view of demonstrating the process by which heritage, both of the past and of tomorrow, and urban mobility concerns serve in the framing of city development.
In addition to the example of Strasbourg, the Conference will expose those of other cities in the World, in a debate among the decision-makers, technical experts and civil society groups on heritage and public transport policies, set within the context of meeting the global challenge of climate change. Among the guest speakers of the Conference are representatives of the Association of Cities and Regions of Art and History of France (ANVPAH) which groups together some 150 historic cities of France; the League of Historical Cities (LHC) an international network of cities committed to heritage-based development presided by the Mayor of Kyoto whose vital role in the framing of the Kyoto Protocol is renown; the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC), an assembly of over 200 cities whose “outstanding universal value” are recognized by UNESCO; the Turkish Association of Historic Cities chaired by the Mayor of Kayseri; and the Indian Heritage Cities Network (IHCN) established for the safeguarding of India’s many fabulous historic cities challenged by rapid urban growth.
This one-day International Conference on Heritage and Public Transport will be followed by the GART National Assembly taking place in Strasbourg on 12-14 October 2011, providing an opportunity to meet the public and private sector representatives of institutions and companies involved in public transportation services.