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The University of Southampton

Research project: Metamorphosis

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The aim of Metamorphosis is to transform urban streets from ugly bugs to beautiful butterflies. The underlying premise is that the urban environment can be radically improved if it is designed with the most vulnerable users in mind, namely children. This research is being undertaken at two scales. Work at the European Union (EU) level is being funded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 (H2020) programme. Work at the global scale is being funded by the UK Department for International Development as part of the High Volume Transport Applied Research Programme.

The Metamorphosis Concept: turning car-oriented spaces into child-friendly places

Source: FGM-Amor
Source: FGM-Amor

Metamorphosis EU

This H2020 project consists of 13 consortium partners, including seven city authorities in the UK and Continental Europe, who are committed to transforming parts of their neighbourhoods from being car orientated spaces to being child-friendly and community-oriented places. The partner cities were chosen to represent a wide variety of demographic and location characteristics, and each works with an academic or enterprise partner to take the lead for a different strand of the project, with the overall aim of improving quality of life, and the physical and mental health of their citizens. The seven cities are (1) Graz, Austria; (2) Meran, Italy; (3) Munich, Germany; (4) Tilburg, Netherlands; (5) Alba Iulia, Romania; (6) Zurich, Switzerland; and (7) Southampton, UK, with TRG taking the lead on the ‘user analysis and involvement’ work package. Each partner city has plans to implement a series of trials to encourage more ‘child friendly neighbourhoods’, to show what can be achieved, and build on the availability of shared space, play streets, living laboratories, crystallisation points, and use of other public spaces and associated interventions. This includes encouraging integrated planning that promotes walking and cycling (and sustainable travel generally) instead of using the car. It also involves developing innovative approaches to local urban design, that engage both children and adults as stakeholders and participants in the development and building process, as well as enabling and simplifying city procedures for the planning and implementation of child friendly neighbourhood measures and activities. TRG has provided a systematic review of interventions and measures that are being applied by the local case studies. In Southampton, interventions in the Old Town and Sholing neighbourhoods that include street closures are being monitored and evaluated.

Reclaim the streets (I): Streets in Southampton close to schools have been temporarily closed

Source: Southampton City Council
Source: Southampton City Council

Metamorphosis Global

This project, which is being undertaken in conjunction with the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), looks at the scope for applying the concepts developed in Metamorphosis EU to Low Income Countries. In particular, it will examine the prospects for making neighbourhoods around two schools in Bangladesh more child-friendly, through the illustration of practical case studies and the development of a prototype on-line toolkit.  The approach taken is to develop local solutions to local problems through the bottom-up development and testing of interventions. In Bangladesh, road safety is a major problem and hence Metamorphosis Global is also working closely with the STARS (Socio-Technical Assessment of Road Safety) project funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Reclaim the streets (II): Road accidents outside schools in Bangladesh have led to major street protests

Source: BUET.
Source: BUET.

Related research groups

Transportation Group
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