Bicycle Culture By Design

Published on December 1st, 2012 | by

December 1st, 2012 by

Mikael Colville-Andersen is a world-leading urban planning / transportation planning consultant. His focus is on human-powered transport, especially the bicycle, and humanizing cities (at least, that’s how I would summarize it). His blog, Copenhagenize, is one of the few urban planning blogs I follow, and I am pretty much always eager to check out his new posts.

Mikael, who is based in Copenhagen (arguably the best large city in the world for biking — it and Amsterdam are in constant competition for that title), travels the world to consult for cities, companies, organizations, and citizens. Recently, he was a speaker at a TEDx conference in Germany. Of course, it was an interesting presentation and I think well worth a watch, so here it is:

To see the text of the speech, head on over to this Copenhagenize post.

Some of the key points of the speech worth picking out and highlighting in a bullet-point list (at least, imho) are thus:

  • Good urban or transportation planning requires close observation of people, and how they use the spaces of a city.
  • Design should be an integral part of transportation planning and engineering.
  • Good design often doesn’t require complex analysis, just careful and open-minded observation and logical thinking.
  • Traffic engineers and planners need to go out and experience their cities as pedestrians and bicyclists (not just sit behind a computer) — seems obvious, but this is actually the exception rather than the norm.
  • Even kids can do a better job designing streets than many of our traffic engineers have done.
  • An absurd number of people are killed every day from cars and bad transportation design (i.e. traffic engineering) — this isn’t a must, but we have come to accept it as the norm, rather than find ways to solve this massacre of human life.