27 September 2016

PARK(ing) Day Tackles Bike Infrastructure

Dozens of bicycles replace a former single car parking space, a common sight on Copenhagen streets.

Co-written by Sylvia Green and Copenhagenize Design Co.

The transition from summer to autumn brings life back to our cities, filling schools, offices, busses, cycle tracks, roads, and of course, parking spaces. While it’s exciting to feel the energy brought with this transition, it’s hard not to miss the elephant in the room, the bull in the china shop, the private automobile. One annual autumn event, PARK(ing) Day, has done an incredible job at questioning the dominance of the car in our urban spaces. On the third Friday of each September, PARK(ing) Day has everyday citizens transform street parking into public space of their own design.

PARK(ing) day began in San Francisco in 2005, when Rebar Design decided to convert a metered parking spot into a public park for a period of two hours. Since then, a movement has expanded globally, and now includes installations redefining local spaces to suit political, commercial, playful or aesthetic intentions.

In cities worldwide, car parking takes up a tremendous amount of space, is often heavily subsidized, and, despite the general strategic embrace away from high energy and heavily polluting transportation (ie cars), car parking is still seen to be a right in the eyes of planning officials. Even in bicycle-friendly Copenhagen, despite the low vehicular modal share of 22 percent within the city, there is over 3 square km dedicated to parking vehicles. Much of this is unmetered, all is heavily subsidized.

PARK(ing) day allows everyday people to re-imagine what the tremendous amount of public space could contain if cars were not the dominant force they are, and put their imagination into action. The day is also a part of the broader movement to reclaim space in densely populated city spaces. Many of the installations at this year’s PARK(ing) day event contained bicycle-related components. Here are a few of our favourites, to inspire you for next year’s event.

Berlin, Germany.

In Berlin, two installations nicely brought utilitarian cycling issues to the table. The bicycle advocacy group Volksentscheid Fahrrad redesigned a mobile trailer as a small park for hanging out and discussing the referendum movement, which switched spots regularly. One organizer, Maximillian Nawrath, explained, “I think it will raise awareness amongst citizens about how much space parked cars occupy and what we could use in their place. Additionally, I want to promote the referendum group Volksentscheid Fahrrad, because it's state election time in Berlin and we have to be in the minds of the people on election day! We invited lots of press and will be very present in local media, which is super important!”.

The second, Netzwerk Fahrradfreundliches Neukölln, set up an installation along Hermannplatz, an arterial characterised by heavy car traffic and very little bicycle infrastructure. There, temporary bicycle parking was created and bicycles were painted on the street to visualize the need for a protected bike lane instead of free parking space for cars. A representative from Netzwerk Fahrradfreundliches Neukölln explained, “[PARK(ing) Day] has relevance generally as many cities are growing and a battle has started over the public space. Cities need to re-think how to use it in the most sustainable and efficient way. Berlin is fast-growing and there is an increase of traffic and parking. Yet, cities and are for people and not for cars. A liveable city focusses on enough recreation zones, and space for traffic participants who do not emit fumes, CO2 and noise.”


Cambridge, USA

In Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Cambridge Bike Committee replaced car parking with a protected bike lane for PARK(ing) day. Megan, from the committee, explained the concept, “I suggested that instead of 1 spot to TALK about biking, that we take over a whole block to SHOW what biking should feel like and even better if it was a high profile street like Mass Ave in front of the busiest coffee shop, Flour, and employer, Novartis. Ms. Anne Marie jumped on the idea and gave it life within the committee. The amazing Cara Seiderman and Jennifer Lawrence scoped out the blocks on Mass Ave and determined that we could install a popup protected bikeways on BOTH sides of a very busy block! To create the barrier of protection, I suggested that kids paint a wall mural, which they loved. I talked to Katie who runs the summer camp program with Annika's school to see if the kids would be interested and if we could use the paint and she was excited to help make it happen.”

Megan hopes that this bike lane will help to change attitudes towards cycling infrastructure in Cambridge. “When you hear people say that ‘we don't have space’ for biking like The Netherlands, remember this picture and let them know that we do have space, but it's used for storing a car driven by typically 1 person. The Dutch didn't do it overnight - it took protesting moms and an oil crisis to jump start the movement in the 70s. We'll get there, too, but it takes a cocktail of passion, time, behavior change and political will."





Montreal, Canada

Turning to Montreal, our local Copenhagenize office made an installation to show the difference between existing painted lanes in Montreal and physically protected one-way cycle tracks. As Michael Wexler explains, “It is one thing to post articles online and look at maps and plans, but for the average person, whether or not they are used to riding a bicycle, seeing is believing.” Michael believes that pop-up bike lanes can dispel myths surrounding cycle tracks, show their versatility and allow users to understand how it feels to have protected infrastructure. “The event allowed us to put something on the ground and engage with people on and off bikes about how their city's streets should and could be better designed. It also didn't hurt that traffic was jammed up on the street while bikes used our cycle track and totally circumvented the gridlock. PARK(ing) day is a great event to show what is possible with so much of our city space that we allocate to storing giant metal boxes”. Michael believes that PARK(ing) day should be used to push the conversation forward in formal planning spaces, “There is so much potential for good design in a city like Montreal - where there is arguably the strongest urban cycling culture in North America.”



As a fun and engaging annual event, PARK(ing) Day does an excellent job of having everyday citizens draw to light the potential of the inefficient use of these highly valuable spaces. In some cases, such as San Francisco’s Parklet program, the movement has successfully inspired more formal and permanent installations expanding the public realm. Rather than subsidizing valuable urban land to accommodate big metal boxes it’s time for cities to wake up to the misconception of parking as an necessity and economic generator. Here’s to seeing PARK(ing) Day continue to question the status quo of our urban parking spaces.

For more information on organising your own PARK(ing) Day, click here.

23 September 2016

When a Public Space Doesn't Want You - Kvæsthusmolen

The Bicycle Chef on Kvæsthus Pier
A late-summer evening in Copenhagen. Copenhagenize Design Company arranged for The Bicycle Chef - Cykelkokken to serve up a delicious snack for our guests from the City of Bordeaux, including Mayors from surrounding municipalities, who were visiting our city to learn about bicycle urbanism and public space.

Ole Kassow from Cycling Without Age was invited to spread his good word about his amazing project. Being urban designers, we thought it highly appropriate to exploit the potential of Copenhagen's newest public space - Kvæsthusmolen - a redevelopment of a quay in the heart of the Danish capital.

Summer is lingering this year, but the space was rather empty at 18:30, with only a few people enjoying the evening. We arranged for the Bicycle Chef to meet us at the "Kissing Steps" and set up for serving our guests from his converted Bullitt cargo bike.

It was going to be a classic Copenhagen arrangement. Or so we thought.



In all the material about the new, public urban space, grand descriptions are employed. "A space for cosy and quiet moments", they tell us. "A good urban space also invites people to linger". Indeed. The spot we chose - the Kissing Steps - is "a perfect place to share a moment in the sun." Not a dry eye in the house.

There is nothing in those descriptions to indicate that using the space would result in an angry employee from the Scandic Front hotel nearby storming out to us in the middle of the urban space and informing us in no uncertain terms - read: rude - that we had to move. That the space upon which we stood was private property and that we had to leave it immediately.

When we questioned this bizarre statement with comments about public space, we were informed by this man that it WASN'T public space - it was owned by The Royal Danish Theatre - also located nearby - and that the Scandic Front hotel pays "a lot of money" to rent it. Therefore we, as Copenhageners with international guests, were not allowed to have a private picnic.


Damn. There we were. Ready to experience a place for everything, a place for excitement and a place for US.




We were ready for a vibrant urban space and nine steps for kissing! As RealDania, the philanthropic fund who financed it says on the project website, the goal with the space was:

• creating an urban space which communicates the transition between Frederiksstaden and Holmen through a wide architectural “embrace” that extends the classical understanding of space in Frederiksstaden, staged through a sensual mixture of materials and a “fairy-tale” composition of lighting, which in itself makes the square enticing; both day and night

• to soften the transition between land and sea, e.g. with a stairway, and to enable a broad spectrum of recreational activities on and by the water


RealDania's declared mission is "To improve quality of life for the common good through the built environment".

What an amazing array of glossy, marketing texts about this new destination.


We were the only people in the space at that moment. The outdoor seating for the hotel was packed up for the evening - and probably the rest of the year. While Angry Hotel Man didn't seem very certain about his claims, we had distinguished guests arriving so we chose to avoid educating him in public space and, instead, roll over to the other area on Kvæsthusmolen, along the harbour, to begin our evening.

The Lulu and Cykelkokken Ole Kassow
The World's Youngest Urbanist, The Lulu, helped Morten out preparing for our guests. Ole Kassow did his magic and all went well.



Kvæsthusmolen was designed by Danish architects Lundberg & Tranberg.

The question remains. Can you boldy proclaim "public space" and then try to kick people off of it? And in a city that prides itself on public space like few others? The lines between private and public are blurred here on Kvæsthusmolen. The Royal Danish Theatre even tries to brand the space as Ofelia Plads / Ofelia Square, complete with a website. Even though the official name is Kvæsthusmolen.



Screengrab from The Royal Danish Theatre's website. Just because it's weird.

As Mayor Morten Kabell has said, "There is nothing called Ofelia Plads - except in the imagination of The Royal Theatre".

Addendum
Mayor Morten Kabell, on Facebook, has looked into this. He writes:

The stairs and Kvæsthusmolen is owned by the Ministry of Culture and administered by ofeliaplads.dk. They have leased a part of the place to Scandic Hotel for restaurant purposes, but far from it all. On the hotel's area you cannot make a private event or picnic.

But at the rest of Kvæsthusmolen, you can sit and enjoy yourselves, have a picnic and so on. When it amounts to a bigger event, you have to apply for permission from ofeliaplads.dk just like you'd have to if the area was owned by the city.


We weren't in the (closed) cafe space near the hotel. We were in the middle of the area. It would be interesting to see a plan showing the exact lease area. The whole area was deserted. You would think that creating some life in the space would be regarded as beneficial to everyone, including the businesses.

But hey. So maybe it's a free-for-all in this new urban space. Organisations can make up names for it. Hotels can kick you out of it - and, what's worse, hotels that only have a dismal 3.5 rating on Trip Advisor.

This may be routine in other cities in the world. This is not, however, fitting in the Copenhagen in which I choose to live and work.

21 September 2016

The Lulu Solves Congestion, Road Safety Issues and Finding Space for Bikes


I finally got around to subjecting The Lulu to a simple test. I've been meaning to do it for ages and last night we cast ourselves headlong into the urban fray. I figured The World's Youngest Urbanist would have a good shot at it.

The Lulu, since she was 3 1/2 years old, has delivered a constant stream of urbanist wisdom. Indeed, I feature her in most of the keynotes I do around the world. The point being that kids are better at planning Life-Sized Cities than a room full of adults.

While walking around our neighbourhood a few years ago, she dropped another wisdom bomb. We were waiting at a red light. She was a bit quiet and looking around. Suddenly, she looks up at me and says, "When will by city fit me, Daddy?"



It was a frustration for her to be so small on the urban landscape. I assured her that she would grow. She just shrugged and said, "yeah". She knew that. But at that moment she didn't feel like her city fit her.

That sentiment stuck with me. I started to think hard about whether my city fits ME. By and large, it does, this Copenhagen of mine. But there are still many places in this city where it doesn't. And most cities in the world don't feel like they fit me. They don't feel like they are life-sized cities. That phrase I came up with is a direct result of The Lulu's comment.

I used the phrase in the title of one of my TED x talks:


Furthermore, it is now also the title of my new TV series - premiereing in 2017 - The Life-Sized City.

The Lulu's observations can be profound, but they can also be simple. Like this one. Letting her loose with a camera on her urban landscape also offers up interesting street photography results.

After she started to deliver her wisdom, I started to think about what kids could contribute. I got Lulu's big brother and his whole 3rd grade class in on it with this project. And I remain amazed at the logic and rationality that children employ.




14 September 2016

Gladsaxe focused on cycling - and saved millions

The following post is an English translation of Søren Astrup's recent article for the Danish newspaper, Politiken, Gladsaxe satsede på cykeltrafik - og sparede over en kvart milliard kroner:











The municipality's willingness to provide safe cycling infrastructure has been a good idea, according to new calculations.

Like life-sized cities the world over, the Danish municipality of Gladsaxe, just northwest of Copenhagen, has sought to understand how to make roads safer for their citizens. The solution, they’ve found, is to simply make roads more bicycle friendly. To do so, they’ve transformed 94 percent of the city’s road network to feature either sensible speed limits (30 or 40 km/hr) or dedicated, separated cycle tracks. First set in 1984, the humble goal of making safer streets by way of traffic calming and bicycle infrastructure has been a worthwhile investment. A study carried out by the Aalborg University Traffic Research Group has found the efforts have paid off significantly. To date the city has invested €24 million in traffic calming and cycle  infrastructure, while realising €66 million in direct health care savings. The study looked at cycling injuries in the region as well as hospital and emergency room treatments of cyclists involved in an auto collision.

Turns out traffic collisions are expensive

Estimates suggest the improvements in Gladsaxe to have resulted in 4,500 fewer traffic collisions resulting in injuries, all while bicycle traffic has increased by 15 percent. Calculations developed by Cowi Engineering Consultants for the municipality suggest the average public expenditure per person injured in an automobile collision to just over €17,000.  A significant part of this cost (hospital treatment, care, and rehabilitation) is covered
And the bicycle keeps paying off Furthermore, the study finds health savings in the municipality to amount to €0.09 per kilometre cycled. And with a 15 percent increase in bicycle traffic in Gladsaxe since 2000, the municipality can boast nearly €5 million in savings.  

10 August 2016

Three Design Elements for Safer Intersections

Safety at the World's Busiest Cycle Intersection (Copenhagen) from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.


Our friend Clarence of Street Films fame was in town last week to further showcase what makes Copenhagen such a life-sized city. This wasn’t his first time. Just a couple years ago we showed him around, checking out the innovative infrastructure that treats bicycle riders with respect. And before that, we showed Street Films around for Cycling in Copenhagen, through North American Eyes.


This time around we thought we’d zoom in a little, taking a more detailed look at the unsung hero of any intuitive and reliable cycle network, the intersection. We met early Friday morning at Søtorvet, the world’s busiest bicycle intersection, with 42,600 bicycle riders every day. 86 percent of all traffic moving through Søtorvet is by bicycle! And don’t think this impressive split is just the status quo, or a fluke. Nope, the City of Copenhagen has made a series of strategic decisions over the past ten years, including widened cycle tracks, public transport investments, and traffic calming initiatives, to encourage the logical modes of transportation.


With such heavy traffic flows, it’s incredibly important to design an intersection that is logical, intuitive, and safe. And one of the simplest ways to insure safety, is to ensure bicycle riders are visible! Three simple design interventions, set back stop-lines, dedicated bicycle signals, and cycle crossing guides, are observed in many Copenhagen intersections and can go a long way in making all road users more comfortable.


Set back stop-lines - This simple design measure improves safety without making any impact on travel times for cars. Setting the stop line for cars five metres behind the cycle stop line ensures, at the very least, that cyclists will be out of the blind spots for a lorry waiting to turn right. Whatsmore, set back stop lines make pedestrians more visible as well.




Dedicated bicycle signals - By giving cyclists their own dedicated traffic signals, both bicycle riders and cars feel more secure travelling through an intersection. The signals are typically placed lower than those directed to cars, putting them directly in the line of sight of the typical cyclist, at least 1.5 metres from the cycle track.


A simple benefit of having dedicated signals is to get cyclists out into the intersection just a couple seconds before cars. This ensures that cyclists are out of any possible blind spots and highly visible. Once the dedicated signal for cyclists has finished, cars are then allowed a couple additional seconds to clear the intersection and complete turns. Like at Søtorvet, dedicated bicycle signals can also easily be combined with set back stop-lines to further improve safety and sense of security.




Blue cycle crossing guides - Once traffic is moving through the intersection, blue cycle crossings help maintain visibility, informing all modes where to expect bicycle traffic. As a colour choice, blue (unlike red for example) tends to age well, maintaining its vibrancy through its lifetime. Danish studies have shown that no more than two blue cycle crossings should be added to one intersection. Any more and the intersection becomes overly cluttered and, in turn, not as safe.




These three design elements are only a few of the simple, yet effective, design elements that go a long way in making a legitimate choice of transportation here in Copenhagen. Depending on the size, capacity, and speed of each intersection, there’s always a design oriented solution.

01 August 2016

The Bicycle Bridges of Copenhagen




By Mia Riefkohl / Copenhagenize Design Company

The City of Copenhagen minds the gaps. Over the past decade, we have witnessed radical changes in the connectivity of Copenhagen, a city bisected by a harbour. We’ve watched as thirteen bridges have popped up (with four more on their way), connecting previously cut off neighbourhoods while facilitating a 13 km recreational path, the Harbour Circle. Mobility and bicycle user experience are both high priorities on the City’s agenda, and these bridges are only a part of a greater plan. But most notable of all, each and every one of these new bridges are off-limits to automobiles, saying loud and clear that this is a city for people. A Life-Sized City. To show how serious the city takes connectivity, we created a map showcasing the new and upcoming bicycle bridges of Copenhagen.

The map above is divided into three categories: the built, the temporary and the proposed. The ten already built are currently in use by those looking for a fast A to B. Bridges are the mobility link inside the urban toolbox that effortlessly solves the problem of crossing an obstacle. Done properly, a bridge is A-to-Bism at it’s finest. The significant number of  bridges is immediately noticeable on our map. While thirteen new bridges for bicycle users and pedestrians have opened since 2006, nine of of them were built in the last two years alone.

Overcoming the Harbour and Canals

Completed in 2006, Bryggebroen was the first new connection built over the Copenhagen harbour in centuries. Bryggebroen served to connect Havneholmen to Islands Brygge and beyond, giving Copenhageners a much needed connection over the harbour. However, crossing the bridge into the city, riders were forced to choose between two inconvenient options: to push their bicycle up  steep stairs, or take an inconvenient, indirect, detour weaving through pedestrians. This gap was filled with the addition of the Cykelslangen, (The Bicycle Snake), in 2014. Cykelslangen is an elevated, orange bike lane, elegantly connecting Bryggebroen to the neighbouring districts, along a dedicated, bicycle only pathway. Shortly after opening, Cykelslangen became an instant Copenhagen urban icon for it’s practical, elegant and functional Danish design. At last count, the two bridges accommodated 14,200 and 12,700 daily bicycle riders, respectively, far exceeding traffic flow predictions. These two bridges set a new standard, bicycle bridges are not only widely popular among residents and visitors alike, but an incredible investment.


Bryggebroen (upper) and Cykelslangen (lower) connecting neighbourhoods. Photo: Ole Malling.

In 2009, we wrote: “What the city needs is access across the harbour farther east, closer to the city centre on the Inner Harbour. Our new Opera and the former military area called Holmen, would benefit greatly from increased access. A network of bridges is needed.” The City took note of these gaps and seven years later the results are in. With four new bridges in the area, Holmen is now better integrated with the rest of the city in all directions. Urban acupuncture at it’s best.
The Inderhavnsbro (AKA the Inner Harbour Bridge, AKA the kissing bridge, AKA the missing bridge), connecting Holmen to Nyhavn, Kongens Nytorv and beyond, opened just three weeks ago, with an already noticeable effect on pedestrian and bicycle flow on Holmen. In addition to the Inner Harbour Bridge, Trangravsbroen and Proviantbroen, have made it easier, faster and safer to move on foot and by bicycle across Holmen and Christianshavn.



The new Inderhavnsbro connects the city centre with Holmen and beyond.

Trangravsbroen conveniently connects three corners of the Holmen district.

Shorter bridges over 17th Century canals, such as Cirkelbroen (the Circle Bridge), and the Frederiksholm Canal bridge, help link almost the entire harbour. Designed by the Danish-Icelandic artist, Olafur Eliasson, Cirkelbroen opened in 2015 and fixed a minor, but important gap in the mobility network of Copenhagen. This beautiful, but modest bridge connects Christiansbro with Applebys Plads and accommodates 2,200 bicycle users daily. Even smaller bridges, less decorated bridges, like Dyssegravenbroen and Laboratoriegravenbroen bridge in Christiania and the Lersoparken-Ryparken bridge also have a big, positive impact on A-to-Bism. The Dyssegraven and Laboratoriegraven bridges are new connections from eastern Amager into the city. While we were biking through Dyssegraven, we stopped and asked a local for his thoughts on the bridge: “It is part of something big. Copenhagen does a lot for cyclists and pedestrians to get around.” We couldn’t agree more.

Olafur Eliasson's Cirkelbroen, inspired by a harbour full of sail boats.


Laboratoriegravbroen in Christiania.


Bridging Urban Divides
It’s easy to see the need for bridges in a maritime city like Copenhagen, but the City’s efforts to connect the urban fabric doesn’t end at the harbour’s edge. Bridges and tunnels also connect bicycle riders to areas previously cut off by busy roads, railways, and construction sites.  
The bridge between Lersoparken and Ryparken was completed in 2014, allowing for pedestrians and bicycle users to cross between two parks and neighborhoods while avoiding indirect and busy roads. Åbuen, opened in 2008, eliminated the challenge for bicycle users approaching and exiting the road bordering between Nørrebro and Frederiksberg. Folehaven Bridge will connect and ensure a safe passage between the Vigerslev park and the Folehave area over the rest of Valby. This bridge will help bicycle users avoid the major traffic barrier that is. The bridge will be located at the municipal boundary and with it’s design it will serve as a dramatic welcome to the city of Copenhagen, reminding automobiles that bicycles are above them.


Åbuen, crossing over Ågade

The city is currently developing two new metro lines, creating inconvenient detours to get around. Two temporary bridges symbolize the commitment of the city to cyclist mobility and not strictly on construction efforts. The Sorted Lake bridge is a new way of experiencing the picturesque lake through a floating shortcut, since the Metro expansion has reduced some of the regular gravel paths next to the lake’s shore. Once the expansion of the Metro is over in 2018, the paths will be back to normal and the floating bridge will be eliminated. Another temporary bridge over Frederiksholms canal was put in this year to give pedestrians and bicycle users the opportunity to bypass the construction of Blox, the future home of Realdania and the Danish Architecture Centre. Without this temporary bridge, one can be strolling down the southern Frederiksholms canal and end up at a dead end forced into relatively fast automobile traffic. If you are on the north side, you must return to the Prince's Bridge near Christiansborg Show Grounds.
And lastly, we have a tunnel. The airy, well-lit Østerbro tunnel opened last year, addressing a major barrier separating residents and bicycle users from Nordhavn and the waterfront. For businesses and residents on Marmormolen, Amerika Plads, and in Århusgade, this tunnel cuts a significant portion of the transportation time welcoming 2,700 bicycle commuters each day.


The newly opened Østerbro tunnel


Bridges on the Horizon
The four proposed new bridges will all further develop the accessibility of the central part of the city and the harbour. Langebrogadebro will connect Vester Voldgade and Langebrogade in Amager and is expected to be completed in 2018 as part of Realdania’s Blox development. The bridge will become part of the green wave network or ‘Grøn Bølge’ that will relieve both car and bicycle congestion of Langebro and Knippelsbro.


As part of Realdania's BLOX development, the foundation has announced Langebrogadebroen, a new pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the harbour.

Bænkebro (The Bench Bridge) will connect Teglholmen and Enghave Brygge, in 2018. The residents of these two areas are currently forced to take a very busy and tedious detour along Vasbygade to commute to and from the city centre, which can easily diminish the desire to commute by bicycle. The new, upcoming Bænkebro will be a nice shortcut through the harbour with less noise and nicer scenery. Once finished, it will be easier to ride all the way down the south harbour connecting the newly developed area at Sluseholmen, and the upcoming commercial and residential area at Enghave Brygge, to the rest of the city.

And perhaps most fantastical of all, there’s the Nordhavn Tower Bridge incorporated into the Copenhagen Gate tower development. Taking the elevation into account, the bridge is hardly an A to B solution. Though initially meant to serve pedestrians and bicycle riders, the latest plans suggest the bicyclists will not be admitted onto the bridge. The bridge will lead from one tower to the other, one at Marmormolbyen and the other upon Langelinie. Each tower will carry its own cable-stay bridge between the two piers and due to the site geography, these bridges will meet at an angle. And we thought the kissing bridge idea was crazy…


The proposed Copenhagen Gate

20 July 2016

Copenhagen Rolls out the Harbour Circle

By Mark Werner / Copenhagenize Design Company

Copenhagen takes no time to rest when it comes to the bicycle, just months after officially kicking off Havneringen, the Harbour Circle project, the route is now complete upon the opening of Inderhavnesbroen, Copenhagen’s newest pedestrian and bicycle bridge. The Harbour Circle only further showcases the city’s commitment to innovative bicycle infrastructure investments. In fall of 2016 the Circle will officially open, a 13 km recreational cycling and pedestrian path lining Copenhagen’s scenic blue harbour and the natural greenery of the city's south side. In recent years Copenhagen has taken strides to connect the city by bridging points along the harbour. The Harbour Circle will serve as a channel for both tourists and locals alike to easily access some of the city’s most notable sites. Stop for ice cream along Nyhavn, swim and relax at Islands Brygge, or stroll through the lush greenery at Amager Fælled. The point of this path is to highlight and connect the many great things around Copenhagen, as it runs through 12 distinct areas of the city. Displaying the clear water of Europe’s cleanest harbour, and granting new access to both historic sites and new architectural gems.



Olafur Eliasson's Circle Bridge is a small, critical connection that helps makes the City's harbour accessible

Adopted by the city budget in 2014, the Harbour Circle project officially kicked off just months ago, in May 2016, complete with a bicycle parade, concerts, food, and kayaking in the harbour. Set for completion in late 2016, the Harbour Circle is part of a much larger goal to link the city with all parts of the harbour, independent from the car. Multiple bridges have been built in this recent effort, beginning in 2006 with Bryggebroen, the first new connection between the district of Amager and Copenhagen in centuries. Prior, only two bridges existed connecting the highly populated Christianshavn, and further to Amager. While some of the new bridges are to be funded by the municipality, Danish foundations are footing the bill for others. Newly created bridges are strictly for pedestrians and cyclists, in an effort to discourage the car and further improve the walkability and bikeability of the city.

The Harbour Circle leads through a diverse range of landscapes.


Funding for this 13 million kr. project comes from both the Copenhagen Municipality and the National Bicycle Group. The Harbour Circle project includes three main components, the most significant is to build infrastructure such as bike paths and a temporary bridge. Further funding is set to place signs throughout the route providing information about each site and to guide people on their journey. Lastly, efforts are made to establish partnerships to market the route to locals and tourists. The Harbour Circle project is another endeavor to create a vibrant, life-sized city that will attract people into the city, adding to the diversity and liveliness of the downtown. The creation of the Harbour Circle will tie the city closer and allow everyone access to many of the destinations Copenhagen has to offer, yet another effort to assure its claim to fame of Copenhagen as a bicycle destination.

13 July 2016

Copenhagenize Design Company on Display

Photo: Clotilde Imbert


By Clotilde Imbert & James Thoem / Copenhagenize Design Company


This summer, Copenhagenize Design Co. is featured in three exhibitions dealing with bicycles, cycling, and urban transformations. Spend a day in Budapest (Hungary), Ghent (Belgium), and/or Paris (France) taking in some urban culture at an inspiring exhibition. What’s great to see is two of the venues hosting the exhibitions are in fact applied arts and design museums, only further showcasing the fact that the bicycle is back in the life of people through the angle of a daily object.

Here at Copenhagenize we always say that no textbook, no analytical software, no traffic model, can rival the value of just getting out there and observing the city and contemplating the role of bicycles in everyday transportation.  We consider city streets to be the very best laboratory for urban innovation. Nevertheless, it's fantastic to see museums and galleries seizing the topic and showcasing it in a new environment.


Bikeology Cycling Exhibition, Museum of Applied Arts. Budapest, Hungary.

Photo: Mohai Balázs

Curated by Kultur Gorilla, Bikeology is an exhibition exploring contemporary design innovations in the field of cycling. It offers a positive vision of the future and explores the mobility paradigm shift on going. The exhibition illustrates the role and importance of design in urban cycling through a triple section of the individual, the local communities, and the global challenges. 

The exhibition features one of our favourite early experiments, the Copenhagenize Love Handle.

Developed in 2010, the Copenhagenize Love Handle was prototyped in the urban theatre that is Copenhagen, Denmark. The aim of this product is simple, provide people travelling by bike the added comfort of having something to lean against while waiting at red light. It may not seem like much, but this added handle makes waiting at a red light just a little more comfortable, indirectly discouraging impatient cyclists from skipping through a red line. See it in action here.

Back in 2010, designing urban furniture for bicycle riders –beyond the simple bicycle rack- was a new phenomenon. Few cities had ever considered supporting bicycle riders in any infrastructural capacity beyond cycle tracks. To create a successful new product, a design approach is the key. Observe bicycle user behaviour and design appropriately.

Six years on we are proud to see our Love Handle in a museum, but most of all to spot more and more products for cyclists implemented in the streets.

Bike To The Future, Design Museum Ghent. Ghent, Belgium

Photo: Clotilde Imbert

The Design museum of Ghent, one of the most bicycle-friendly city in Belgium, is hosting Bike to the Future, an exhibition on bicycles and world-wild initiatives to promote cycling. We love the name, it almost sounds as if it could be a Copenhagenize conference!

This major exhibition in Belgium is playful and interactive. Race bikes, cargo-bikes, folding bikes, wooden bikes, all sorts of recent bicycles or prototypes are featured. After a visit, folks will probably feel like going to a bike shop to purchase their own steed. Well, mostly men and sporty cyclists could get this feeling, since an important part of the exhibition focuses on technical and technological innovations on bicycles, rather than on the simplicity of this old but timeless means of transportation, designed for men and women.

Videos, photographs, and numerous fact sheets allow the audience to get to know many initiatives related to cycling in town: from world-wild phenomena like Critical Mass (or Critical Miss?) and Cycle Hack, to the latest technologies allowing cyclists to find their, and to new items of bicycle urbanism from micro-design to macro-design.

Within this wide range the information, people can find an important number of trends launched first in Copenhagen : Copenhagenize, Cycle Chic (and Belgium Cycle Chic), The Slow Bicycle Movement, and CyclingWithout Age.


Mutations Urbaines: la ville est à nous!, Cité des sciences & de l’industrie. Paris, France

 
Photo: Darjelling

Cities must adapt themselves to countless dynamic factors from demographic increase, to new technologies, and climate change. Urban Planners often deal with these issues from behind their desks, while local inhabitants live them each and every day. As the city changes, so too do the behaviours and attitudes of everyday citizens, however small or large.

The curator of the exhibition has decided to highlight four cities that can inspire others to adapt their urban environment to the new reality: Copenhagen, Detroit, Songdo and Medellin are all an international leaders in a specific field.

A film screening showcases Copenhagen as a model of green city, which has prioritized pedestrians and cyclists over cars. Using Copenhagenize's photomontages of streets in 1973 and 2014, they explain that removing cars to make space for active mode of transportations like walking and cycling is achievable.  


What’s more, further attention is turned to a now global movement that started in Copenhagen, Cycling Without Age. Started by our friend Ole Kassow, Cycling Without Age facilitates rickshaw rides for elderly living in nursing homes, reconnecting otherwise a relatively immobile group with their changing city.