Between Green Spaces and Mobility: exploring diverging perspectives on the admission of motorised traffic in the Bois de la Cambre.
We inquired individual preferences in relation to different setups of the Ter Kamerenbos/Bois de la Cambre. We analysed the profiles of groups with different preferences in relation to their use of the park, their socio- demographic situation, the places where they live and work, their mobility practices and access to green spaces.
We ran an online survey between Nov. 27 and Dec. 7, 2020, for which we received 7252 valid responses, which we divided into three groups based on respondents’ preferences for the park’s setup: Allow Traffic, Middle Ground and Ban Traffic (min. group size 1800). While our sample is not representative of the population at large, it is adequate to study the profiles of people displaying different preferences for the park.
Looking at different motivations for preferring one or the other setup for the park, and at the use of the park before and during traffic restrictions, suggests an area of tension between traffic fluidity and the recreational use of the park.
The three groups are characterised by a different mean age (Allow Traffic respondents on average being the oldest, Ban Traffic respondents being the youngest) and different professional situation (business owners and retirees being represented more strongly in the Allow Traffic group).
Respondents’ places of residence and activity seem important elements in understanding people’s preferences: Allow Traffic respondents are more likely to be living/working in municipalities further away from the historical centre of Brussels (the Pentagon); the opposite holds for the Ban traffic group.
Ban Traffic respondents are much more likely to use the bicycle on a regular basis; Allow Traffic respondents are much more likely to use personal motorised transport on a regular basis; the regular public transport users are generally underrepresented in the sample.
A personal lack of access to green spaces is generally related to a preference for banning motorised traffic from the Bois de la Cambre.
Overall, respondents’ personal situation (age, young children, place where they live/work, personal resources) emerges as an important predictor for one’s preference for the park’s setup and as such offers an adequate frame to understand the dispute.