What is the Build Back Better Cities Campaign?
The Build Back Better Cities Campaign is a worldwide challenge for cities to transform their streets into more livable and sustainable places for everyone. It is a bold campaign to shift away from car-centric mobility, progressively adopting the carfree city model.
What is the overarching goal of the campaign?
The overarching goal is to create more carfree spaces in cities as well as reduce the overall volume of driving - daily automobile trips and the number of cars on roads - including the available road space and infrastructure dedicated to car use.
Who is the campaign intended for?
Anyone is welcome to participate. Since the choices made today concerning transport policy and urban design will affect urban dwellers for many years and decades to come, everyone is affected and each person has the right to stand up for his or her future vision of their city.
Where is the campaign taking place?
As a global campaign, it is open to participation and local activities everywhere. However, the essence of the global campaign is a multitude of local “city campaigns”. Thus we are encouraging and promoting local campaigns that are already getting started in a number of cities while also welcoming new ones.
How long will this campaign last?
Campaign roll-out is in spring and summer of 2021. The first edition of the campaign will run through the summer of 2022. City campaigns will then be extended in time, or follow-up campaigns will be launched.
What is the main message?
Not only is the world experiencing a global pandemic, but it is also facing dire consequences of climate change unless we act quickly. Streets and urban transport around the world need to be decarbonized. The starting point should be a shift away from car mobility, returning streets to communities: everyone should have the right to a dignified home environment that is safe and clean, and where children can play freely. Real change is possible, and much can be achieved in a short time frame, but only if we act now. Let's not wait for more years or decades to pass!
What does the campaign hope to achieve?
We hope to achieve actual on the ground transformation. This can include more room for cyclists, safe places for children to play actively outdoors, and the ability of pedestrians to move about, free from the threat of being hit by cars and without choking from pollution. Securing commitments by city government to implement the vision of the campaign is a top objective.
However, there are many intermediate stages of success, and campaigners should not be discouraged if the top goal is not realized within a short time frame. Reaching a large number of people within your area and recruiting people to embrace your vision, or increasing support among the population, already count as worthy achievements.
Whom do we want to reach? City government or citizens?
Both. While it is necessary to secure commitments and political will for introducing necessary changes within government, it is also supremely important to get citizens and residents on board. The more that the wider population supports the campaign message, the better the chance of getting city government to respond positively.
What are we asking cities to do? What is being campaigned for?
CCA believes in a two-pronged approach. Campaigns should put forward concrete measures that can be quickly implemented while also engaging with all stakeholders (residents and policymakers), promoting a long term transition to livable and eventually carfree cities.
What are the 'concrete measures' part of the campaign?
Concrete measure will in one way or another lead to a conversion of space to carfree. This may be the pedestrianization of a particular street, a new bicycle lane or path, a small park reclaimed from car parking, or many other possibilities. CCA has developed a catalogue of exciting project and activity ideas, linking to best practices around the world. It is up to the local campaign teams to design an approach that is realistic and appropriate for their particular city.
Is it possible to change anything in our cities?
Yes! In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of cities have quickly adopted strong measures to provide more safe spaces for their citizens and to use the opportunity to make their cities more cycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Cities that have already done good deeds include: Milan, Brussels, Tirana, Paris, Bogotá, Kampala, London, Oakland, Budapest, Rotterdam, Mexico City ... and many more.
I want to run a local campaign. What should I do?
Excellent. There are countless opportunities waiting for you. Your city and your world may never be the same again! The first thing to do is to get in touch with CCA – we will send you all of the information to get better oriented and take the first steps. There are already plenty of materials on the CCA website that can inspire and inform you about the CCA approach. We look forward to hearing from you.
There are a lot of good initiatives out there. Why carfree cities?
We wholeheartedly salute other good initiatives and encourage people to join them. CCA actively links up with other organizations and networks and believes in the ethos of cooperation and mutual support, across boundaries and networks. The CCA campaign is compatible in a complementary fashion to other existing campaigns and efforts.
However, our campaign is unique! CCA has the singular vision of carfree streets and cities as the best possible answer to climate change urgency and the need to transform our cities into livable and lovable places. This campaign targets a specific layer of urban sustainability, capable of delivering a powerful set of solutions to the many problems facing cities today.