Central to Ljubljana’s proposal for creating an environmentally responsible metropolis was turning the city centre into a car-free zone. The pedestrianisation was bolstered by improvements to both cycling networks and public transport. Noise pollution and gas emissions dropped in the area in question, and in 2016, the European Commission crowned Ljubljana the continent’s green capital. The scheme wasn’t always so well-received by Slovenians. “There were protests,” says Saša Poljak Istenič, an academic who has written several papers on the impact that pedestrianisation has had on the city. “Residents living in the city centre thought that the transformations would make access to their homes impossible. We held several debates on the topic but the then-mayor, Zoran Jankovic, didn’t back down in the face of opposition. Gradually the city’s residents began to adapt to the changes and adopted new routines to fit around them. They swapped their cars for bikes or took public transport.”
Des fois, ça vaut la peine d’être radical en matière d’urbanisme.