Abstract: Drawing on personal interviews with local planners, this paper examines barriers to the pedestrianization of city centres in two contrasting settings, one in a Global North city (Brisbane, Australia) and the other in a Global South city (Kathmandu, Nepal). These cases are illuminating because Brisbane already contains a popular three-block pedestrian mall in its CBD (Central Business District), but proposals to expand it have not met with support, whereas Kathmandu’s plans to pedestrianize its busy historic centre have failed so far. While the cultural and economic circumstances of Brisbane and Kathmandu vary significantly, there are similarities as well as differences in their barriers to pedestrianization. The barriers include: (1) opposition from residents and motorists; (2) opposition from local merchants; (3) cost recovery; (4) access of delivery vehicles; (5) management of alternative transport and parking; (6) enforcement; and (7) institutional and political support. These types of barriers are certainly not unique to these two cities. It is very probable that similar issues are encountered in other Global North and Global South cities. It is clear that political, institutional and social barriers are more significant than technical and financial barriers. A dominating car culture is responsible for the general lack of commitment to pedestrianization.
Authors: Ayush Parajuli & Dorina Pojani