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Towards a more Liveable and Accessible Cycle Path Network in Padova: a Participatory Mapping Process

Abstract

With the advent of climate-related issues and low-carbon economy, networks of cycle paths and tracks are becoming a more and more relevant mobility infrastructure for cities. However, mapping their critical points in order to fix them to improve liveability and accessibility can be difficult. One solution may be to combine digital technologies and users' knowledge, using the methods of participatory mapping. The first experiences in participatory GIS, in which geo-information technologies are used in support of collection, creation and sharing of spatial information by non-skilled social actors, date back to the nineteen-eighties. This bottom-up approach saw a strong evolution in recent years, even in the European urban context, thanks to the constant development of digital technologies and to the increasing opportunities for citizens to access the web. Free and open geographic data, by means of Public Participatory GIS (PPGIS) and Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), facilitate the citizens' involvement and participation in urban planning and management. This is the framework behind PISTE riCICLABILI, an innovative project by the University of Padova started in autumn 2016 and aiming at the following goals: a participatory mapping of critical issues of the urban cycle path network and the implementation of an open source geo-portal for collecting and sharing geo-referenced reports. Within the workflow developed for this project, spatial information has been collected in two different ways: on the one hand, using printed city maps during public events, where involved citizens marked the cycle paths issues with pins; on the other hand, through a mobile geo-app. In the second case, Open Data Kit (ODK) was used. It is a combination of free and open source tools enabling everyone to create a form to be filled in with a smartphone in the field, and to send geo-referenced reports to a server. Mobile data were collected using the GeoODK Collect Android app, then aggregated and periodically exported, reprocessed and released through the open source webGIS platform Lizmap. First results of the process, which experienced a growing participation by citizens, consist of over 300 collected critical points. Through the analysis of these data it is possible to have a first overview on the main problems of bicycle mobility in Padova, their spatial implications and citizens' suggestions to improve human-oriented places. This contribution presents the mapping and data spreading workflow, together with results achieved and possible future development, with the aim to share a promising tool to improve urban sustainable mobility

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Last time updated on April 18, 2018View original full text link

This paper was published in REAL CORP.

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