Passages: Transitional Spaces for the 21st-Century CityMireille Apel-Muller
At a time when mobility has moved to the heart of urban priorities, each of us is expected to demonstrate our skills as online navigators, shifting from one mode of transportation to another, covering various distances on a day-to-day basis, in metropolitan areas that are fragmented by large networks, fast infrastructures, specialized zones.
Our day-to-day experience is made up of journeys—slow and fast—on foot, in mass transit, in motor vehicles, by bicycle, to access the resources that urban life offers, whether close by or across the city. They impose changes, breaks, obstacles to be negotiated, often a choice between discomfort or not traveling at all. Our bodies, basic units of mobility, are subjected to stress, fatigue, anxiety. Passages, as small transitional spaces, are essential links in a mobility that is sustainable. Tunnels, footbridges, escalators, urban funiculars, corridors that facilitate transition between modes, between urban ambiences… History and the observation of how they are used show us that they are potentially a source of particular kinds of urban character, of ambiences, activities, qualities. The word “Passage”, in its semantic diversity (philosophical, temporal, spatial, musical, literary), reflects this clearly.
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