Over the last few years, after the Pontevedra model gained popularity worldwide, invitations to participate in conferences, seminars, workshops and congresses have increased exponentially, both at the national and international level.
- Urban design
- Road safety
- Town planning
- Universal accessibility
- Child mobility
- Heritage preservation
In the light of its remarkable media impact, it would be remiss not to highlight the city’s participation in the 2015 Paris Climate Summit. The mayor of Paris and the president of the Bloomberg Foundation invited the mayor of Pontevedra to take part in this global event that brought together local leaders from all over the world, who expressed their unwavering commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the implementation of an alternative city model characterized by pedestrian based intermodality, Pontevedra has brought pollution down by 60% in 15 years through gradual restrictions placed on the indiscriminate use of private motorized vehicles and an environmentally friendly approach to urban mobility. Therefore, even prior to the summit, Pontevedra was already meeting the strictest international standards to tackle climate change.
France and Belgium are the epicenter of Intermodes, a European agency focused on the study of transport intermodality in all its dimensions. The 2013 Intermodes Award with which Pontevedra was presented boosted the international impact of the city’s proposals, particularly in France, where We Demain magazine as well as other statewide media outlets published reports about what they decided to call the “City without cars”, thus providing Pontevedra’s transformative model with additional visibility.
The 2012 Walk21 international conference held in Munich helped to establish a network of European cities with a shared interest in developing new town models to improve urban quality. At the conference, city representatives signed the Walk21 International Charter for Walking, where they undertook to give maximum priority to natural forms of mobility and promote healthier lifestyles through the rationalization of city displacements.
The 2014 European Conference on Mobility Management (ECOMM) held in Florence and the 2015 FitCity 10 event organized by the New York Academy of Medicine in New York City, both extended Pontevedra an invitation to share experiences related to sustainable urban design and transformative town planning. Taking advantage of the occasion, the mayor and his team collected the 2015 Active Design Award, also in New York City.
Another transcendent international partnership that the city of Pontevedra has established relates to Rome and the work of Francesco Tonucci, an Italian educational psychologist whose work La città dei bambini (The City of Children) was taken as one of the main sources of inspiration to design the alternative city model Pontevedra has been implementing for over a decade now. In this monograph, Tonucci posits that designing a city by putting the youngest residents first will make it more equitable and fair for everyone else. As principal researcher at the Roman Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Tonucci has hosted various seminars and conferences where the city of Pontevedra has been featured as a case study and an example to be followed both nationally and internationally.
Dubai and Hong Kong have also organized international gatherings about smart mobility and intelligent urban planning to improve people’s quality of life, and the city of Pontevedra has been presented with two prestigious awards in recognition of its long-term endeavor. In Dubai, Pontevedra collected the UN-Habitat Award, a global prize that celebrates projects devised to improve living conditions in different environments and contexts.
Many cities in Portugal have taken an interest in the Pontevedra experience, whose principles and measures they have started to follow with the objective of shifting urban mobility priorities, promoting universal accessibility both in the center and the outskirts, organizing traffic flows efficiently and giving pedestrians top priority citywide.
Numerous universities and local authorities throughout Spain have analyzed the Pontevedra model, focusing on town planning, responsible mobility and sustainable city management. Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Pamplona, Gijón, Alicante, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Torrelodones and many others have paid heed to at least a few fundamental dimensions at the time of presenting transformative proposals to their residents.
Also noteworthy are initiatives like those envisioned by the National Environmental Education Center in Valsaín (Segovia), particularly in the case of the Child Mobility Group, with which the mayor of Pontevedra and his team have collaborated to disseminate the School Path program. The 2013 edition of the ongoing seminar organized by the National Environmental Education Center was held in Pontevedra to strengthen the bonds between these two institutions.
The Network of Cities that Walk, an organization of more than 50 Spanish and Portuguese local authorities dedicated to the promotion of natural mobility, offered the mayor of Pontevedra its honorary presidency in consideration of the city’s advocacy of pedestrianization policies and the constant promotion of healthy living in urban environments.