Meet the Team: Michael Glotz-Richter – Urban Planner & Civil Engineer

Michael Glotz-Richter, movmi’s Practice Lead for Transportation Planning, Policy & Regulations, is an urban planner and civil engineer with over four decades of experience. He is a passionate advocate for shared mobility and sustainable urban development. His journey began in the bustling city of Berlin, where his early experiences ignited his lifelong commitment to enhancing and improving urban spaces.

We are thrilled to have Michael as part of the movmi team. Whether this is your first introduction or you would like to get to know him better, keep reading to learn more about his career experience, landmark projects and achievements, and the exciting projects he envisions for the future.

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From Activist to Urban Planner

“I’m a ‘spaceman’,” Michael says, reflecting on his deep-seated interest in the use of public space. Growing up in densely built Berlin, Michael witnessed firsthand the transformation of green spaces into concrete highways. “Some green space that I used to play in became a highway intersection in the 70s – and I became an activist in a local action group. And we were successful, the further extension of the planned highway was never built, he recalls. This activism, which began 50 years ago, spurred his interest in urban planning, focusing on transport planning and the efficient use of street space.

A Career Dedicated to Sustainable Mobility

Michael’s professional journey started in Berlin in 1980 with traffic calming experiments. “Getting involved in those early projects was a turning point,” he notes. His work extended to various cities, including Cologne and Bremen, where he spearheaded initiatives like car-free housing and the integration of car sharing into urban planning. His experience has led him to become a member of the EGUM Expert Group on Urban Mobility at the EU Commission where he initated a working group on street space (that will deliver its report in summer this year.)

He also works as a freelancer involved in a number of projects of integrating shared mobility into neighbourhoods or political strategies on local as well as nation level (e.g. Luxembourg Car-Sharing strategy) and is happy becoming part of the movmi team in this capacity.

Landmark Projects & Achievements

One of Michael’s proudest achievements was initiating a legal change in Germany to allow municipalities to establish on-street car sharing stations. “It started as early as 1996 with an initiative among the German states and led to the German car sharing law in 2017,” he explains. This initiative faced several challenges but ultimately became a significant milestone in promoting shared mobility.

Another highlight was the EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, where Bremen’s strategy of integrating car sharing into urban development was showcased. “We had more than 1.5 million visitors and it led to some sharing initiatives in Asia,” Michael shares. This international exposure underscored the global relevance of his work.

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Michael also recounts a memorable anecdote from the Munich International Motor Show, where he faced unexpected resistance,

"As member of a joint working group with the German motor-industry, I had written a paper about the conflicts in street space with the title "Road space is precious, ever larger cars are the wrong way!" I brought a number of printed copies to our first post-Covid physical meeting to the Munich International motor show IAA. Seeing the title of the paper, the Security called the police... and put me into custody for a while – I missed the panel debate I was invited to – and it became some media topic. At least, the paper became much more recognised."
Michael Glotz-Richter
Practic Lead | Transportation Planning, Policy & Regulations

A Regular Presence at Shared Mobility Rocks

Michael has become a staple at the annual Shared Mobility Rocks conference. In 2023, we had the pleasure of hosting the event here in North Vancouver, where Michael once again captivated the audience with his unique blend of experience and humor in his “License to Share” play. Presented in three acts, detailing the life of a mobil.punkt.

In Germany, mobil.punkts are well-distributed hubs for shared mobility in urban neighborhoods that reduce the number of cars by providing car (and other) sharing options directly where people live. Michael’s play is structured as follows:

Act One: Birth
The challenging early days of establishing mobil.punkts, facing the notorious hurdles of German bureaucracy.

Act Two: Those Awkward Growing-Up Years
The development phase, where mobil.punkts began building new relationships and expanding their reach within communities.

Act Three: Maturity
Celebrating the 20-year milestone of mobil.punkts, showcasing their growth and the establishment of similar hubs across Europe.

Check out a sneak peak of ‘License to Share’ Act One below! 

Michael’s engaging presentation not only highlighted the practical benefits of shared mobility but also brought a lighthearted and personal touch to the conference, underscoring his invaluable contribution to the field.

Looking Ahead: Future Projects & Innovations

Michael’s vision for the future includes projects that bridge local and international efforts in urban mobility. “I love to bring together work on the ground and use the power of inspiration from good examples on the international scale,” he states.

The mobil.punkt strategy gained global traction, with the first German cycle zone (another exciting project Michael coordinated in Bremen) becoming a role model for cities across Germany and beyond. This initiative not only won the Germany National Cycle Award in 2018 but also the Austrian Mobility Award in 2020.

Michael also cherished the exchange of ideas during the EXPO in Shanghai, collaborating with countries in Asia, and working with Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. This eventually led to further efforts in Gaborone, Botswana, focusing on walking and cycling strategies.

He is also particularly excited about urban regeneration projects like the superblock approaches in Vienna, which reclaim street space from motorized transport.

“My heart beats to see people using street space as common space for all kinds of activities,” Michael says, emphasizing his passion for creating human-centered and resource-efficient urban environments. He believes that shared mobility and market-based kerbside management are crucial for utilizing limited space efficiently.

With a career spanning over 40 years, Michael remains optimistic about the power of inspiration and the potential for policy changes to improve urban mobility. “Cities worldwide face similar dilemmas, and we have some answers for improvements,” he asserts. Michael’s dedication to sustainable urban living continues to drive his efforts in making cities better places for all.

To sum up, Michael’s work with movmi and his extensive experience highlight the transformative potential of shared mobility and sustainable urban planning. His visionary approach and commitment to public space have paved the way for innovative solutions in urban development, ensuring a better, more sustainable future for cities worldwide.

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