At nextzuerich.ch I noticed that a large number of ideas have been communicated about making Zürich a more bicycle friendly city. So as I saw this invitation to the event Nextsalon Velocity, I decided to participate to help contribute to making Zürich a more bicycle friendly city.
At the event, I found it very interesting to share ideas with other participants about what we can do to improve conditions for everyone moving from a to b in Zürich. I found it fascinating that the event was complemented by work on the internet, for example on nexzuerich.ning.com, facebook, nextzuerich.ch, and on ronorp.net.
In this blog posting, I read that to be an innovator, you have to be a relentlessly curious anthropologist and a keen-eyed ethnographer, so with a mobile electronic device, I walked / cycled / drove around the city to take photos of the areas in Zürich where I have experienced there is a strong potential for making conditions better – not least for people who use 2 wheel / 3 wheel vehicles with or without engine / battery.
Below are some more experiences / ideas / inspiration on making cities more bicycle friendly:
Watching the video embedded below, I learned that there are 6 fundamental things a city needs to get right.
# 1: Order and variety
An example: Every house in a neighbourhood has the same width and height. In addition, every house has been allowed freedom regarding form and colour.
# 2: Visible life
People like when they can see things going on where they work / live.
# 3: Compact
An example: A square should not be too small – and should be no larger than 30 metres in diameter.
# 4: Orientation and mystery
We need a good balance between a) big streets / boulevards that offer orientation and b) small streets / lanes that offer mystery. People love cities that have lots of backstreets and small lanes where you can feel cosy.
# 5: Scale
A suggestion is made that buildings should be maximum 5 stories tall. Above that, people start to feel small and insignificant. When, occasionally, there’s a big building, make it a building that’s really special and loved by everyone.
# 6: Make it local
An example could be the use of local materials for building infrastructure. It could also be something else that makes something uniquely local. When you think of beautiful local place, what comes into your mind?
Some ideas for cities that want to become more bicycle friendly. What would you add?
As I was in Denmark this Summer visiting my mother, I took the opportunity to visit the Western part of Aarhus, a part of the city that is undergoing significant transformation. Due to my interest in innovating work and living environments, I found it interesting to observe some of the changes going on in the area which will contribute to improving the lives of people. While I was there, I made the 1 minute video embedded below. To know more about the rebuilding work that is going on in the area, have a look at Helhedsplan Gellerup.
The other day, I participated at this event initiated by nextzürich. Watching the movie the human scale at the start of the event, I learned, for example, that to rebuild the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, more than 100,000 ideas were developed by citizens. Watching the film, I also learned that, in New York, USA, ideas on city development were continuously tried out / tested. By testing / trying out ideas, one could, for example, find out how life in the city changes. Among other advantages of continuously testing / trying out ideas that people have developed for certain parts of the city, I come to think, for example, of the positive influence it has on the motivation of citizens: People experience – first hand – that their voices are being heard, that their ideas are taken seriously. They see the result of their creative work. Innovation is happening.
The moderated discussion after the film was interesting, I found. Reflecting on what was said, I recall, for example, that Frank Argast talked about that city development is not just about development of the inner part of a city / the centre of a city. It is not least about developing the outskirts of a city. During the discussion, I noted, also, an interesting question by another participant. She asked, as I understood it, about the degree of diversity, for example regarding the design of buildings. As I heard it, she was trying to make the point that there could be more diversity. I found the question relevant and came to think, for example, to what extent more buildings could have a form that is different from the squared / rectangular form.
Looking for ideas to develop a city, I came across these outdoor work and living environment initiatives.
Reading this article and this article, I learned that Hamburg is working on a plan that, over the next 15-20 years, is going to expand the number of green spaces considerably. The hamburg green network will connect parks, recreational areas, playgrounds, gardens, and cemeteries through green paths. These changes are not least being made, as I have understood it, to respond to environmental changes such as increasing temperatures and sea levels and – more generally – to make the city a healthier and more pleasant place to live.
Digital technologies contribute to changes that are going on in the way people get from a to b. Via betahaus hamburg, I learned, for example, about citeecar. What I like about the solution of citeecar is, for example, that it is simple to understand – and a relatively inexpensive transportation solution. In short, it seems to be a carsharing solution for the average joe. Studying other transportation innovation initiatives around Hamburg, I also found out that by using the hvv mobile app you can actually save money when you buy your ticket online. And I learned that in Hamburg, transportation by bicycle is being upgraded in priority – as this nexthamburg idea also suggests. For example, I was quite impressed by StadtRAD Hamburg, a very well developed bike sharing solution that enables people to pick up and leave bicycles at any StadtRAD Hamburg station that are situated – quite close to each other – all over city. The StadtRAD Hamburg bike sharing solution is, I noticed, very popular among the local population. Lots of people use the bikes to get from a to b. What I found great, for example, was the very good quality of the bikes and also, that within the first ½ hour of a rental, you use the bike you rent for free. In addition, I liked the very well developed bicycle streets in Hamburg that, as you can see from the photo below, are painted red. On the photo, the bicycle path is the right part of the sidewalk.
Want more inspiration on the topic? Then take a look at this presentation about bicycle friendly cities And in this work on transportation innovation I have tried to pinpoint some further, broader changes going on in the transportation / mobility space. Have a good time getting around.