Friday, 15 January 2021

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Ciné-ONU: Bikes vs Cars

21 September 2016—“We are in a period of transition”- Pascal Smet, Minister for Mobility in Brussels at Ciné-ONU’s screening of Fredrik Gretten’s Bikes vs Cars at The Italian Cultural Institute. 


Bikes vs Cars is a documentary about the bike and what an amazing tool for change it can be. It highlights a conflict in city planning between bikes, cars and a growing reliance on fossil fuels. Activists and cities all over the world are moving towards a new system. This film from director Fredrik Gretten looks into, and investigates, the daily global drama in traffic around the world.

Ciné-ONU was proud to partner with UNEP and UN Habitat to bring this fantastic film to Brussels bike enthusiasts and Ciné-ONU fans. Both UN Habitat and UN Environment spearhead urban development and the global environment within the UN system. The event also marked European Mobility Week, and highlighted the forthcoming Habitat III Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development to take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 17 October-20 October 2016. Habital III is a unique opportunity to discuss the important challenges of how cities, towns and villages are planned and managed, in order to fulfill their role as drivers of sustainable development. 

Photo: UNRIC

The screening of the film was followed by a discussion about urban mobility issues with Pascal Smet, Minister for Mobility and Public Works in Brussels, Jérôme Pourbaix, Director of Regional Offices and Services at the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), Frédéric Saliez, Deputy head of UN-Habitat Regional Office in Brussels, and moderated by Deborah Seward, Director of the United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) in Brussels. 

Photo: UNRIC

The prevailing argument throughout the discussion went beyond the issue of the bike versus the car, as Frédéric Saliez stated, “We need work on many fronts to enhance mobility. Not only paint bike lanes but also address the fiscal system,” emphasing that this is an old discussion in urban development, and one that is centered on the issue of mobility.

Jérôme Pourbaix stressed that the way we plan mobility does matter, and the answer does not lie in banning cars but rather in spatial organisation, stating there are “reasons for optimism in finding solutions: consider the potential in spatial organisation.”

When asked by an audience member about the issue of cars in Brussels, Minister Smet explained that it is an issue of commuters and governance, providing insight into the future of mobility in Brussels and encouraging the audience to promote the shift and use the power they have. Smet intends to add more pedestrian zones, and urban boulevards, and make Brussels 100% accessible by bike.

In conclusion, the projection of Bikes vs Cars, followed by a lively debate about mobility and urban planning ties directly to Goal 11 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Please find the handout from our event here, and for more great photos from the night, please click here


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