02 July 2010

Copenhagenize Goes to Melbourne

Great Keppel Island 1989
Me in Australia, 1989. Arriving on Great Keppel Island. Which is no where near Melbourne, but hey... I could have added this Byron Bay photo instead... but the sailboat has a more of a 'travel/arrival' feel

The date is fast approaching when I embark on an epic journey to the other side of the planet. I've been invited to speak at the State of Design Festival in Melbourne and I'm well pleased about receiving the invite.

I lived and worked in Melbourne back in 1990, and again for a shorter period in 1993, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the city looks like after all these years. When I spoke in Brno, Czech Republic, a couple of months back, Lars Gemzøe from Gehl Architects was my partner in lecture crime and he spoke about his firm's work in the city. It's going to be great to see the transformation. I lived in St. Kilda back in the day and quite often rode a bicycle into the city centre and around the neighbourhood. I remember the downtown as being a wasteland after 17:00. By all accounts it's a more lively, liveable place to be these days.

But what a trip. Fly to Brussels, wait three hours. Seven hours to Abu Dhabi, wait two hours. Then 14 hours to Melbourne. Fortunately the presentation is on the tail end - Saturday 24 July, 2010 - so here's hoping the jet lag has faded a bit before I present Four Goals for Promoting Urban Cycling.

Due to summer holiday family logistics I'll be bringing the Boy Wonder, Felix, with me on the trip. It's going to be great to show him the other side of the planet. On the way home the boys will stop for a beach holiday in Abu Dhabi. Matt from US planning & design firm - Alta Planning - is working in the emirate so we'll hook up for a chat. Sheesh... you just can't seem to get away from bicycle people... :-) That's a good sign, of course. A very good sign.

We'll miss the opening of Ferrari World amusment park by a few months. I think we'll survive. Although the roller coaster would have been cool...


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you'll enjoy Melbourne! — it's a great city. It's got a lot of new architecture and public spaces since 1990. Some good bike tracks have gone in, but there's lots more opportunities still for bike infrastructure. Of course, the trams are still there, giving good public transport service.

If you happen to have the opportunity, Brisbane is a city (sub tropical north) that has put big $$$ into bike infrastructure in the last decade, that you might like to look at, or at least refer to. Melbourne has the natural advantage of milder weather and flatter terrain though. Of course, if you want to convince Melbourne that it needs to do something, just tell them that Sydney is working on it right now. Very competitive two cities!

Weather at this time of year will be wet and cold, but you might get lucky. Melbourne's weather turns on a dime as you probably know.

I'm sure you have some other Melbourne readers who will come and say hello (like myself if I get a chance) — we welcome you.


Anonymous said...

I've booked my tickets to the talk and will be flying down to Melbourne from Brisbane for the event.

If you are in Brisbane Mikael, feel free to get in touch - you have my email somewhere I think.


Paul Martin
Brisbane, Australia

Unity Finesmith said...

Hi Mikael

I am flying over from Auckland, New Zealand, to hear your talk as Melbourne is a lot closer than Copenhagen and I really couldn't miss the opportunity! I hope to catch a quick chat with you and of course a few photos for Auckland Cycle Chic.

See you in a couple of weeks

Unity Finesmith

Gerard said...

Sadly... "Don't forget your helmet" - you're in Oz now.

Anonymous said...

No, please don't bring a helmet and don't wear one either - I don't. Having said that the fine in Victoria has recently gone up to $148 in celebration of the newly unveiled (and microscopic, automobile sponsored) bike hire scheme there.

Feel free to be very critical of the mandatory helmet legislation and the notion that cycling is dangerous (high vis gear, et al)... Hopefully there will be some politicians in the audience.

Paul Martin
Brisbane, Australia

Mikael said...

Oh goodness. I've done this presentation a number of times now. All over the world. I'm proud of it. But hearing that so many of you are flying in from Brisbane, Sydney, AUCKLAND, etc. serves to make me feel very humble and honoured and not a little shit-my-pants nervous... :-)

Edward said...

Welcome to Australia Mikael. Melbourne is a great city - one of the world's best. I know you will not have time but if you ever do, please come and visit us in Adelaide. We could learn a lot from you.

Patrick said...

Hey Mikael,
I can't afford the flying/carbon miles (from Wellington NZ), but would love to hear the show. Are you webcasting it?

Mikael said...

Hey Patrick.
don't know if the State of Design Festival is webcasting/recording the presentation.

Erin said...

Far from a wasteland these days - Melbourne!

I will be there, without a helmet or high-vis jacket.....

lagatta à montréal said...

I'm sure Oz winters are nothing to Danish ones, especially last year.

Perhaps you could wear a toy Viking helmet?

I was so furious reading the nasty comments Sue gets from "young gentlemen": http://freedomcyclist.blogspot.com/2010/07/get-off-road-granny.html

Fortunately so many younger people lust after my Raleigh Sprite these days in Montréal that such comments are rare here.

Aukand? Wow. Anyone from Perth?