Lydie Polfer (Mayor of Luxembourg City): bigger city life
Lydie Polfer, Mayor of Luxembourg City, describes the challenges linked to mobility and housing in the capital, as well the policies to consider in the medium to long term for the city.
How is mobility changing in the capital?
Urban mobility is constantly evolving and is something that is relevant to us all in our daily lives: residents, commuters and visitors. For this reason, coming up with a mobility concept that is tailored to the needs of all our different road users is one of our priorities. Our goal is to enable everyone – pedestrians, people with reduced mobility, cyclists, public transport users and motorists – to travel comfortably, quickly and safely. We’re rising to the challenge of constantly improving our services and finding new mobility solutions. To name a few examples over the past few years: the Pfaffenthal - Ville-Haute lift has been brought into service, a car-sharing system has been introduced in the capital, charging stations for electric cars have been installed in various spots across the city, a funicular has been built between Pfaffenthal and the Red Bridge, and trams have been brought back to connect the Kirchberg area and the Place de l'Etoile. In September, we opened the new Royal-Hamilius car park in the city centre and the extension of the Howald Park & Ride on the city’s outskirts; we also launched an innovative pilot scheme, the City Shuttle. It’s a high-tech, fully self-driving and 100% electric shuttle that has real potential when it comes to urban mobility: it can serve areas which are less accessible by other means of transport, such as residential neighbourhoods and shopping districts. The new public bike sharing system will soon be operational too. As its entire fleet will consist of e-bikes, we will be able to extend the vel’OH! network to other areas of the city which were not previously included because of their terrain. In short, all our mobility projects aim to make daily travel easier for people who live or work in the city. We’re doing our utmost to provide a balanced range of mobility services, promoting soft mobility and public transport and focusing on sustainable development.
"As its entire fleet will consist of e-bikes, we can extend the vel’OH! network to other areas of the city."
What about housing, particularly for young people?
As you know, the city's population is growing and market prices keep rising. We realise that housing costs are a real issue for most people, especially young people, families and low-income households. We recognise the need for building housing within the capital, and have made this one of our top priorities. Of course, the City doesn’t have direct control of the property market, but we’re working to ensure a greater supply of affordable and social housing. For example, we recently opened 5 apartment buildings with social and low-cost housing on Rue de l'Avenir in Limpertsberg, with a total of 64 units. On Rue de la Lavande in Kirchberg, we’ve just finished building 7 single-family homes, which will also be used as social housing. Obviously, it’s important that we continue with the “Baulücken” project, but we also need to innovate, as we did last year by supporting the intergenerational “Doheem mateneen” housing project in Beggen and by launching cohousing projects in Belair and Bonnevoie. In addition, we make sure that housing is a key factor in “mixed” projects, such as the “Villeroy & Boch” renovation project in Rollingergrund, for which the PAP (plan d'aménagement particulier) is still in development, and the upcoming project on the Route d’Arlon, where we will soon have an area of more than 10 hectares earmarked for urban development with housing set as a priority.
What challenges do you think Luxembourg City will face over the next 10 years?
In addition to mobility and housing, which we’ve already mentioned and which are obviously major challenges, I would say urban development, education, social cohesion, the environment and security. In fact, the city’s College of the Mayor and Aldermen has declared these issues to be priorities over the coming years. Responsible and balanced policy-making in these areas will enable us to prepare the city and its citizens for the future and to ensure that everyone can enjoy real quality of life in healthy, safe and stable surroundings.