Luxembourg in Transition, radical pragmatism

KCAP with Arup and Philippe Cabane was one of the six multidisciplinary teams selected out of eleven to participate in the second phase of the international consultation Luxembourg in Transition to deliver ecological transition scenarios for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and its cross-border area.

For that phase, our team, combining KCAP’s experience in urban and spatial planning with Arup’s specific expertise of urban engineering and resilience with the particular knowledge of cross-border developments, brought by Philippe Cabane,  proposed a radical pragmatic methodology to offer spatial visions for the zero-carbon and resilient future of the Luxembourg functional area. Mobility and logistics are by far the primary producers of GHG emissions in the country, beyond the values of many other European countries. So an effective GHG-mitigation approach will therefore have significant impact towards a 0-emission condition for Luxembourg.

We divided Logistics and Mobility into two categories, ‘Hardware’ and ‘Software’ for better handling. Hardware is physical traffic infrastructure, industry sites, mobility/ logistics hubs, and spatial contexts, like centrality and built footprint. Software relates to strategies, policies, and pricing tools for modal split/ fuel-type/cargo-type. The proposal started with an inventory and analysis of the logistics activity for Luxembourg as an essential node in the Trans-European Freight Network. After surveying the Functional Zone, we concluded that Mobility, Logistics concerning Centrality and Built Footprint mainly concentrate South of the line Arlon – Luxembourg - Trier. The banana-shaped area spanning from Arlon, Longwy, and Petange, via Esch-sur-Alzette to Thionville, forms a continuously urbanized agglomeration and catches most of the potential GHG.

Referring to a Swiss Scenario, as transit plays a similarly important role in the two central European countries, in Switzerland, only 4.9% of the freight load (tkm) goes to the road, while in Luxembourg, the number is 99.8%. If Luxembourg’s logistics sector can reach the same modal split for non-waterway inland logistics as Switzerland, the GHG emission in the logistics sector will reduce by 59.3%, meaning a 19.4 % reduction in the total GHG emission of the country.

For the transition, we propose several hardware and software strategies that reach from concentrating industry and transport hubs to raising fuel prices to consider changing consumer habits and thus the supply chains and logistics.

To show the proposal, our team defined an exemplary zone, Bettembourg-Dudelange, with its new intermodal road-rail terminal, where containers are loaded from truck to train and vice versa. In response to the current planning trends based on the significant land take, we suggest relocating scattered industrial and logistics activities into new, mixed, and densified facilities, freeing up around 50% of brownfield that could be renaturalised. Regarding the habitat, the proposal focuses on densification of the space along the traffic axis, connecting the villages’ centralities, and meeting the demand for housing, or public amenities, with compact and efficient urban forms.

Congrats to the four teams admitted to the third stage.

Our complete proposal is shared on the official website.