Shifting from the Occupation of Space to the Mastery of TimeAlain Deneef
Shifting from the occupation of space to the mastery of time: how the way we formulate our need of being mobile can help us win the mobility battle.
Mobility is the capacity of crossing a distance between two points. If it surely is a question of space, it can even more be a question of time. Whereas space is unvarying, when one travels, time on the contrary can objectively be longer or shorter, subjectively wasted or meaningful. For too long, the possession of and even the competition for space has resided at the heart of mobility policies. This has had a price in terms of ever growing infrastructure and in terms of competing urban functions, without any convincing result. Therefore, the time has come to shift our perspective from building new infrastructure to occupy even more space, to defining new and better processes to master time. The mastering of time through processes requests that we give a thought to what the demand for mobility really means. Whereas we cannot change much about the need for mobility, as seen as a basic freedom and/or as born out of necessity, we can truly modulate the way this need translates itself into an expressed demand for mobility. The way this demand can be modulated depends heavily on the behaviour of citizens, their will to change things, the trade-offs they are willing to make and the help governments may provide to them in facilitating the coming of this tipping point in our citizen’s conscience.