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The Future of Mobility Has Two Wheels: Copenhagen’s Bike-Friendly Architecture

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Ambitious technologists have claimed for decades that self-driving cars are the future. Yet, looking at recent years, the biggest revolution has come from vehicles on two wheels, not four. Fueled by the pandemic, increased oil prices, climate change and the desire for healthier lifestyles, we are now living in the midst of a bicycle renaissance. But to understand how we got here, it is crucial to look back. When the automobile became more widespread in the early 1900s, it quickly became a symbol of progress along with all it entailed: speed, privatisation and segregation. Adopting a car-centric approach, urban planners had to reorganise entire cities to separate traffic. Cars took over public spaces that used to host dynamic city life and parking lots, highways and gas stations became common landscapes. Pedestrians that once ruled the streets were herded into sidewalks and children relegated to fenced playgrounds. Ironically, cities were being designed for cars (not humans).

Rules of the Road for Becoming a More Bike-Dependent City

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Proposal for Car-Free Times Square in New York City. Image via 3deluxe

Over the last century, cars have been the dominant element when designing cities and towns. Driving lanes, lane expansions, parking garages, and surface lots have been utilized as we continue our heavy reliance on cars, leaving urban planners to devise creative ways to make city streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists alike. But many cities, especially a handful in Europe, have become blueprints for forward-thinking ideologies on how to design new spaces to become car-free and rethink streets to make them pedestrian-friendly. Are we experiencing the slow death of cars in urban cores around the world in favor of those who prefer to walk or ride bikes? And if so, how can it be done on a larger scale?

10 Cities Embracing Bicycles in their Urban Planning

What does the future of cities and transportation look like? It looks like the future will run on two wheels and a handle bar. Many explain the rise of cyclists as a shift towards a healthier and more economical lifestyle. But while that may be true, why would individuals feel inclined to ride bicycles if the roads don't support it, or if there weren't adequate spaces to park?

Architecture plays an important role in promoting the use of bicycles. Cities equipped with safe bicycle lanes, parking lots, and public bike facilities encourage citizens to refrain from using their cars, and opt for a much more sustainable means of transportation. Many have already began reshaping their urban infrastructure in a way that caters to bicycles, whether it is through bicycle bridges, widened cycling lanes, or permanent parking lots.

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On World Bicycle Day: 22 Inspiring Architectural Cycling Projects

Nowadays bicycles are not only used for sports or as a recreational activity, as more and more people are choosing bicycles as their main means of transportation.

Architecture plays a fundamental role in promoting the use of bicycles, as a properly equipped city with safe bicycle lanes, plentiful bicycle parking spots, and open areas to ride freely will encourage people to use their cars much less.

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What We Can (and Can’t) Learn from Copenhagen

This article was originally published on Common Edge

I spent four glorious days in Copenhagen in 2017 and left with an acute case of urban envy. (I kept thinking: It’s like..an American Portland—except better.) Why can’t we do cities like this in the United States? That’s the question an urban nerd like me asks while strolling the famously pedestrian-friendly streets, as hordes of impossibly blond and fit Danes bicycle briskly past.

Open Call: design the next generation of multimodal parklet

In partnership with Better Block Foundation, Spin is launching an open call for designers, urbanists, architects, citizens and anyone who cares about safer and more livable streets, to design an on-street parklet prototype that blends the traditional parklet, bike corral, scooter parking, and bus shelter with placemaking.

Finalist teams in the design competition will receive $1,500 towards fabrication costs, plus mentorship and support from Better Block Foundation, and up to $1,500 in travel budget for domestic U.S. travel to Denver, Colorado.

All finalist designs will be built and installed in Denver, Colorado, and rolled out on National Parking Day, September 20,

The Netherlands Unveils the World's First Recycled Plastic Bike Lane

When it comes to sustainability, the Netherlands has always been at the forefront. In recent news, Zwolle, one of the country's "greenest cities," implemented the world's first bicycle lane composed of post-consumer waste that would normally be discarded or incinerated. 

To create the material, Zwolle used old, plastic bottles, festival beer cups, cosmetic packaging, and plastic furniture. Still, in the pilot phase, the bike path contains 70% recycled plastic in its 30-meter pathway. Although, the city hopes to create a bike path made entirely of recycled plastic in the future. 

Urban Equipment for Public Spaces Helps to Build a Bike-Friendly City

Designing public spaces without considering the circulation and parking of bicycles is no longer an option in today's world. Accessibility for the free traffic of cyclists must also be accompanied by adequate security conditions, incorporating these devices in the best possible way to parks, sidewalks, parking lots, and the streetscape as a whole. 

Are you designing an urban space, or do the exteriors of your project require a correct link with the circulation of bicycles? Check these support elements that can help you to generate a better city for the urban commuter on wheels.

Biking Through Denmark: Highlights of Copenhagen's Architecture Festival

This year's Copenhagen Architecture Festival (CAFx) offered a wide range of activities, from film screenings to exhibitions on the future of social housing. The festival's fourth edition took place over 11 days and featured more than 150 architectural events in Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Aalborg.

Festival Director Josephine Michau explained that since its first edition, the intention behind CAFx was to bring many local agents together in order to build new dialogues around architecture. As a society, how do we identify with architecture? What values do we ascribe to it? These questions were part of this edition's overarching theme: "Architecture as identity."

The Worlds Longest Elevated Cycling Path Opens in China

This month, in the city of Xiamen, China's first elevated cycling path was inaugurated. At nearly 8 kilometers long, the structure is now the world's longest elevated cycling path.

The construction of this exclusive cycling path was promoted by the Xiamen City Government to provide inhabitants with a new sustainable transportation alternative that could significantly reduce vehicular traffic on the city's already congested highways. 

A Stretch of Rio de Janeiro's Tim Maia Bike Path Collapses

A 50-meter stretch of Rio de Janeiro's Tim Maia bike path, which was built in preparation of the 2016 Olympic Games to connect neighborhoods Leblon and São Conrado, collapsed this morning. Adjacent to the Avenue Oscar Niemeyer, in the south of the city, the bike path was inaugurated on January 17 this year. According to the fire department, the deadly accident was caused by the surf of the sea.

According to passersby, the bike lane was hit by a strong wave that, in addition to collapsing the site, broke the windshield of a bus and dragged a woman on the boardwalk. The location is near the exit of the sewer pipe.

Video: The Bicycle Snake / Dissing+Weitling

The Louisiana Channel recently paid a visit to one of the world's most bike-friendly cities to view what is dubbed "Copenhagen's new architectonic landmark," Dissing+Weitling Architecture's "The Bicycle Snake." "Strikingly slender" and boasting a simple orange track, the Bicycle Snake is a 230 meter bridge dedicated entirely to bikes. The steel bridge tries not to "be more that it actually is," unlike many other landmarks, connecting bicyclists to two main parts of the city by elevating them up to seven meters above the sea.

Travelbox Combines Essentials for Living In A Portable Box

Permitting travel on a budget, the architects of Juust have designed a compact "Travelbox" that consolidates all the essentials - bike, bed, table, chair and storage. Beautifully constructed from wood and clad in aluminum, the clever arrangement brings the comfort of home to wherever life may lead you.

"In its closed position it is rigid, efficient, and ready to endure the inevitable bumps of international travel. Upon arrival the Travelbox can be unfolded to instantly transform your new abode into a comfortable home," says Juust.

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10 Points of a Bicycling Architecture

A revolution is occurring in street design. New York, arguably the world’s bellwether city, has let everyday citizens cycle for transport. They have done that by designating one lane on most Avenues to bicyclists only, with barriers to protect them from traffic.

Now hundreds of cities are rejigging to be bicycle-friendly, while in New York there is a sense that more change is afoot. Many New Yorkers would prefer if their city were more like Copenhagen where 40% of all trips are by bike. But then Copenhagen wants more as well. Where does this stop?

Cities Need Big Changes to Become Bike Friendly

A new study has found that cities need to make big infrastructural changes, rather than small ones, in order to become more bike friendly. As this article from Fast Company explains, small increases in bicycle usage lead to more accidents, which in turn makes others afraid to make the switch from driving to riding. However, the study found that heavy investment in cycling infrastructure brings an economic benefit to cities in the long run, largely thanks to savings from reduced healthcare costs. To learn about the long-term benefits of big biking investments, click here.

3 Architects Appointed to Oversee £100 Million Cycling Infrastructure In London

Roger Hawkins (Hawkins\Brown), Sunand Prasad (Penoyre & Prasad) and Peter Murray (New London Architecture) have all been appointed by the Mayor of London to oversee the implementation of £100 million worth of cycling infrastructure in the city.

The scheme will focus on three London Boroughs: Kingston, Enfield and Waltham Forest, each of which were awarded "mini-Holland" status - a reference to the cycling haven of the Netherlands which these areas of London will be modeled on. Each borough will nominate their own principal designers, but the three appointed architects, who all sit on the Mayor's design advisory panel, will be acting as consultant and client for a different borough.

Read on after the break for a rundown of the proposed changes

Norman Foster-Designed Scheme Aims to Transform London into “Cycling Utopia”

Foster + Partners has unveiled a scheme that aims to transform London’s railways into cycling freeways. The seemingly plausible proposal, which was designed with the help of landscape firm Exterior Architecture and transportation consultant Space Syntax, would connect more than six million residents to an elevated network of car-free bicycle paths built above London’s existing railway lines if approved.

"SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city," said Norman Foster, who is both a regular cyclist and the president of Britain's National Byway Trust. "By using the corridors above the suburban railways, we could create a world-class network of safe, car free cycle routes that are ideally located for commuters."

Bikes vs. Cars

Think traffic is bad now? One billion cars are already on the road today and another billion is expected to join in the coming decade. Pollution and stressful commuting is at an all time high, empowering many politicians and bicycle activists to declare war on the multi-billion dollar car industry which has profoundly impacted city development worldwide.