On 19th May approximately 4,000 people converged on Holyrood for Pedal on Parliament, calling for Scotland to become a cycle friendly nation. The question is how do we get there? There are two countries which are invariably held as good examples of how to achieve this aim are the Netherlands and Denmark. But how do their models work and which is best for Scotland? The Danish model of creating a cycling-friendly culture is often said to be an easier fit for current UK conditions. Accordingly, we’re excited to welcome to the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, the famous Danish urban mobility expert and “bicycle anthropologist”, Mikael Colville-Andersen, will be giving a talk on Bicycle Culture by Design – Considering Design as a Place-making Solution for Liveable Cities.
Here in Scotland we are looking again at how we use the space in our cities, in Edinburgh there is discussion about how the city centre will change with the arrival of the trams, as well as the recent Council report on the Building a Vision for the City Centre consultation. Glasgow is currently making changes to it’s infrastructure in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games. Aberdeen and Dundee are also looking at major redevelopment projects. This should be an opportunity to make our cities truly world class, benefiting residents, local businesses and visitors alike, by learning from the best. Copenhagen is often ranked as one of the best places to live in the world, and even Britain’s best known petrol head, Jeremy Clarkson, has described Copenhagen as paradise. However, the 500,000 people who travel by bike every day in Greater Copenhagen are not “cyclists”, nor are they “environmentalists”. They simply choose to ride a bicycle because it is the most convenient, pleasant and fast way to get across the city.
Colville-Andersen, often referred to as Denmark’s Bicycle Ambassador, has presented keynote talks around the world on how cities can use the lessons learned in Copenhagen to become better places to live for everybody. He considers the bicycle to be the most effective tool for achieving the 21st century goal of re-creating liveable cities, and uses a unique combination of anthropology and marketing to explain how ordinary people can be encouraged to choose the bicycle.
He argues that we should use design as a common denominator for everything from advocacy to traffic engineering. Using basic design principles in understanding bicycle infrastructure and culture, it is easier to provide a more direct route to implementation. This is a straight forward and cost effective way to achieve the goal of re-creating liveable cities, where people want to live, work and play.
There will be a rare opportunity to hear Mikael Colville-Andersen talk on his ground-breaking ideas in the UK. Bicycle Culture by Design – Considering Design as a Place-making Solution for Liveable Cities will take place on 15th June at the Assembly Hall, Mound Place, Edinburgh, starting at 19:30. Tickets are available on-line or at The Hub box office. This talk is kindly sponsored by Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative.
In response to the City of Edinburgh Council current proposal of actually banning bicycles from one of Edinburgh’s prime thoroughfares, a senior Spokes member has suggested that all councillors and planners should be given tickets to see this talk. Regardless of your occupation or your preconceptions about cycling, this is sure to be a thought-provoking, lively and ultimately inspiring evening.
This post was sent out as a Press Release for the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, an idea that started here.