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Towards a typology of possibilities

The set of conditions identified in the closing part of the preceding section allows Japan to have a degree of integration of rail transport and urban development and of cross-subsidization within railway company operations that is unthinkable in the present European context. While the Japanese example certainly gives us something to reflect on, any strategy for Europe's station areas would thus have to be based on an understanding of Europe's own characteristics. Recalling what has been said on the specificity of mobility and urbanization patterns in Europe, the best starting point might be what is already happening here. The case studies presented in this book provide some critical inspiration. In this final section, a preliminary sketch will be made of the requirements of an integrated transportproperty typology of possibilities of railway station areas, on the basis of various studies. The objective of such a typology should not be to constrain the variety of individual options; it should rather be to make a contribution to a much needed differentiation of the notion of railway station location. The railway station area as such does not exist. Rather, there is a wide range of types. These must be identified on the basis of criteria including the relative position of the location within urban areas and within transportation networks.

While there are still several open questions, some useful efforts towards the construction of an integrated typology of station areas in a European context have already been made. However, a central problem is that approaches tend to be based on either a node or a place perspective, and rarely account for process and institutional variables. An example of a strongly place-based approach is that of Lambooy (1994). Lambooy has proposed the following typology of Dutch station locations:

1. Centre major city with underground

(a) with strong central position (work, retail, entertainment) respective to own and other urban regions

(b) without strong central position

2. Centre medium-sized city, with strong regional functions

(a) without a specific supra-regional function

(b) with a specific supra-regional function

3. Extra-urban location

(a) with one dominant function

(b) with different dominant functions

4. Edge-city location

(a) with 'just' one limited function

(b) with a relatively complete set of functions

5. Centre small city

6. Stations in big commuter municipalities

7. Other

A major drawback of such a classification is that it considers primarily, if not exclusively, place variables. The urban context, or 'what is next', is the determining factor. Node variables, 'what is accessible', or the position in the transportation network, while implicit, fail to gain an autonomous relevance. At the other extreme, Zembri (1995) and Troin (1995) rely heavily on node variables.

Zembri (1995) categorizes the connection of cities to the TGV network in France as:

1. gares de desenclavement or 'access stations', built in the urban periphery and unrelated to the conventional railway network;

2. gares bis or 'secondary stations', also external to the city but with a connection to the existing railway line;

3. bypassing an HST line with a connection to the conventional line but without a new station;

4. superimposition of new and traditional lines when crossing an agglomeration;

5. interruption of the new line when crossing an agglomeration.

Troin (1995) typifies the link of a station to the TGV and its impacts as:

1. simple improvements of passenger accommodation, with weak development effects;

2. remodelled or rehabilitated stations, with the modest implantation of tertiary activities in the station neighbourhood;

3. stations reinserted in the urban fabric, with the animation of a tertiary district;

4. newly built central stations, with the concerted development of a high-level business district;

5. 'green' or 'bis' stations built in the open fields, with effects that are hoped for but not get apparent;

6. connection stations built in the periphery, intermodal exchange poles, serving a major facility.

In another part of his book, Troin proposes a classification, adapted from Varlet (1992), on the basis of transport infrastructure criteria alone:

1. complete: entailing a classic train station, an existing, planned or possible TGV station, with a direct connection to an airport, a motorway, and a regional rail system of the S-Bahn/ RER type (Paris-Roissy; stations in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Geneva, Z├╝rich);

2. to be completed: entailing an existing, planned or possible TGV station, with a direct connection to an airport and a motorway, and a connection to a regional rail system of the S-Bahn/RER type to be improved/developed (Lyon-Satolas; stations in Brussels, Cologne, Orly, Basel, Marseille);

3. incomplete: entailing a classic urban train station, with a direct connection to a motorway and a regional rail system of the S-Bahn/RER type (stations in London, Manchester, Dusseldorf, Rome);

4. limited: entailing a classic train station, an existing, planned or possible TGV station, with a direct connection to a motorway (Paris Massy, Lille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Toulouse).

In all these three typologies place variables may be implicit but are not independently accounted for. Furthermore, the development implications of Troin's first typology, while intriguing, tend to postulate a fixed relationship between a station type and development effects, which fails to take account of process and contextual factors. The obvious shortcoming of these node-only approaches is that very different kinds of station location are thrown into the same category. A more satisfactory typology should distinguish between place and node variables and then combine them to obtain specific categories. Furthermore, the complexity documented earlier in this chapter in sections 3.1 and 3.2 should be fully acknowledged. In the emerging urban geography, the weight of proximity and accessibility factors cannot be merely assumed; they have to be verified each time. Most importantly, more research is needed on the potential roles of railway stations in emerging node-and-network metropolises. A further and final point can be made clear by referring to the analysis of CEAT (1993). In trying to deal with the complex of variables relevant to each station development case CEAT adopts the following criteria:

I. Objective context: 1. type of station;

2. location;

3. availability of space for property development in the agglomeration;

4. availability of space for property development around the station;

5. socio-economic context (more/less dynamic);

6. railway context 1: innovation;

7. railway context 2: need;

8. potential demand (as synthesis of 1-7).

II. Actual realization of the potential:

9. actors;

10. supply features (interests of actors);

11. demand features (considered or not?);

12. project management.

While distinctions between criteria are not entirely clear also in CEAT's approach, both node criteria (1, 6, 7) and place criteria (2-4) are present. Also, items that could be defined as process criteria (9-12) and context criteria (5) have been included. Evaluations of railway station area redevelopment cases strongly underline the importance of such process and context variables, be they defined as 'political will' (Fancello, 1993), 'conditions and modalities of implementation and operation' (CEAt, 1993), or 'interrelation of strategies' (Bertolini, 1996b).

In conclusion, an integrated framework of analysis would have to comprise both node and place variables, but also process and context factors. In order to complete such a framework, the latter two factors must be understood. They are discussed in the following chapter.

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