Rethinking City Streets: A Deep Dive into Micromobility Experimentation


  • Freddy Nogueira University of Lisbon - Instituto Superior Técnico
  • Dr. Filipe Moura University of Lisbon - Instituto Superior Técnico
  • Dr. Ana Morais de Sá University of Lisbon - Instituto Superior Técnico


experimentation, public spaces, micromobility, urban mobility




The urban environment undergoes constant evolution, and urban experimentation emerges as a nimble and cost-effective alternative to swiftly transform dynamics, yielding significant benefits across various domains, particularly in enhancing public space’s quality and facilitating micromobility. The study aims to comprehensively explore the multifaceted aspects of this innovative approach, shedding light on the motivations driving its adoption, the barriers encountered in its implementation, and the intricate dynamics among diverse stakeholders.

Cities, throughout history, have grappled with the intricate challenge of allocating space effectively to accommodate a multitude of functions, prompting urban planners to actively seek innovative and effective management strategies (Wang et al., 2020). According to Lydon and Garcia (2015) and Evans et al. (2021), the adoption of experimentation in public spaces, characterized by the use of cost-effective materials such as paints, potted plants, and wood, has emerged as a transformative solution. Notably, the momentum gained during the COVID-19 lockdowns has thrust experimentation into the limelight, although it is crucial to recognize that the underlying principles, such as fostering a sense of proximity and designing streets for people, are not entirely novel (Graziano, 2021).

Within the broader context of urban experimentation, this study places particular emphasis on micromobility, encompassing modes like bicycles, e-scooters, and walking. By delving into the motivations and barriers faced by experts engaged in the application of experimentation, the research aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing its success or challenges in the domain of urban mobility.

The examination of the impacts of public participation throughout the experimentation process adds a crucial layer to the study, highlighting the importance of inclusivity and community involvement in shaping urban spaces. The paper underscores the significance of post-implementation monitoring, presenting an in-depth exploration of viable methodologies to gauge the long-term effects and sustainability of experimental interventions.

To achieve these objectives, the research employs a methodology based on semi-structured interviews with experts from two distinct groups: urban planners and transport engineers. This diverse array of participants includes representatives from academia, industry, and public administration across different countries, ensuring a comprehensive and global perspective on the subject matter.

Results from the study illuminate the rich tapestry of experimentation techniques, ranging from tactical urbanism and pop-up urbanism to guerrilla urbanism and do-it-yourself urbanism, each exhibiting subtle yet impactful differences. Furthermore, the motivations driving experimentation diverge notably between Europe and Latin America, with the latter placing a greater emphasis on road safety, while the former focuses more on the public use of streets. The identification of clusters of stakeholders based on their responses adds a layer of complexity, providing valuable insights into the intricate dynamics surrounding urban experimentation.


Evans, J., Vácha, T., Kok, H., & Watson, K. (2021). How cities learn: From experimentation to transformation. Urban Planning, 6(1), 171–182.

Graziano, T. (2021). Smart technologies, back-to-the-village rhetoric, and tactical urbanism: Post-covid planning scenarios in Italy. International Journal of E-Planning Research, 10(2), 80–93.

Lydon, M., & Garcia, A. (2015). Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-term Change

Wang, T., Qu, Z., Yang, Z., Nichol, T., Clarke, G., & Ge, Y. E. (2020). Climate change research on transportation systems: Climate risks, adaptation and planning. Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, 88(October), 102553.