25 March 2009

Cycling Danes Abroad and Foreigners Cycling in Denmark

A flurry of activity on the Danish bicycle ambassador front.

Niels Tørsløv, the Traffic Director of Copenhagen, was on a whistlestop tour of the North American west coast not long ago. It culminated with a lecture at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. SFU is great at filming and internetting their lectures and you can see Niels speak right here on the SFU website.

It's a 40 minute speech about Copenhagen's bicycle culture but also about Humanscaping - or humanizing cities and shaping public spaces. Well worth a look.

You can also read a summary written by Brent Toderian, the Director of Planning for the City of Vancouver. He writes about it here.

On the east coast, Andreas Rohl, the bicycle program manager for the City of Copenhagen, addressed more than 500 cycling advocates at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC as part of the National Bike Summit.

You can read one person's account of the best of the Copenhagen Bike Manager's Address to the National Bike Summit here.

In the reverse direction, the Copenhagen Capacity website, which focuses on, among other things, foreigners doing business in Copenhagen has a page on their site for foreigners who are considering living and working in Copenhagen.

Here, they advertise how you can have a rewarding career AND a fulfilling family life. We take that for given, but it's interesting to see it as a selling point. I love the photo, showing a typical Copenhagener in a suit on his bicycle.

They also want to convince you why you should consider living and working in Copenhagen:
10 reasons why Copenhagen is a great place to live and work.

1. An open and informal working culture and the ultimate work-life balance
2. Quality of life - one of the highest living standards in the world.
3. A safe, well-functioning society with no corruption, a high level of public services
4. An English-speaking community - 86% of the population speak English
5. A health-care system and social security with free and equal access for all
6. An easily accessible location with Northern Europe’s largest international airport
7. A great mix of entertainment, castles, parks, open green areas and sandy beaches
8. A safe environment
9. A dynamic business environment and a prosperous economy
10. A green metropolis – experience that urban life is different and greener in Copenhagen

There's a little film on this page about Copenhagen.


John Mayson said...

When I was a teen I dreamed of living in either Amsterdam or Copenhagen. To prepare I was learning Dutch (sorry, Danish just looked too hard, too many weird looking letters). As I got older I told myself that was a silly notion and I should stay put on this side of the ocean.

The more I hear about the two cities the more I think I should've made the move.

melancholic optimist said...

I think one of my favorite points from Andreas Rohl at the US Bike Summit was (as reported on bikeportland.org): "His point was that if advocates and planners are always talking about safety (which the U.S. is very guilty of) than people — especially the ones advocates are trying to attract — will assume it’s a dangerous activity."

I see this so much, and I think it has so much to do with the U.S. having such a problem with suing each other - companies feel that they have to put out a disclaimer for every possible eventuality to cover themselves, and it results in them portraying bicycles as if you could look at them wrong and they would fall apart while throwing you into traffic on the busiest street during rush hour.

But it's not just that, our advocacy groups spend so much time telling people to ride safely and wear helmets and use lights (not that those are necessarily bad things), that I think it gives the same idea. We don't hound automobile drivers that way, and there is a public conception that driving is much safer than cycling, which is crazy.

We need to start focusing people on the *benefits* of cycling, while working in the background to make it safer and more convenient for everyone, then telling them what has been done to make it safer and more convenient.

melancholic optimist said...

@John: you still could perhaps...?

greenloco said...

I could not tell from the video if Niels Tørsløv was for cyclists wearing helmets or not ?

Dottie said...

Do people really need convincing to live in Copenhagen? Seems like such a lovely place.