Cycling is good for cities – Jan Gehl

Danish city planner - Jan Gehl

Eminent Danish city planner Jan Gehl lectured at RIBA at the end of 2011 about creating People Friendly Cities.  He’s thoughtful, engaging, funny and passionate and the large, mainly young RIBA audience loved him. Cycling isn’t just good for cyclists, it’s good for cities.

Video part 1 People friendly cities are sustainable cities. People like seeing other people. We want lively and attractive cities. Safety and security; we hate deserted places.  A good public realm and a good public transport system are brothers. 50 happy years of  cheap petroleum are over. 1/3 of Americans will die of obesity.  Not everybody can get to the escalator that leads to the fitness centre. The car invasion in the 1960s. Traffic engineers obsessed with finding capacity for cars, as if this was the only thing that mattered.

Video part 2  Walking, cycling and public spaces.

Video part 3  interrupted pavements, guardrails, pedestrian crossings with count down.What can do we for cyclists? Copenhagen, cycle lanes and buffer zones.  Advance light for cyclists on junctions. Greenwaves for cyclists. Integration between travel modes.

Video part 4 In Copenhagen, bicycling has doubled.  36% travel to work by bicycle. Number one problem in Copenhagen? congestion – in cycle lanes!  Safety in cycling numbers.  Melbourne inviting pedestrians.  New York’s Mayor Bloomberg installing many km of cycling lanes. London’s poor cycling infrastructure.

Incidentally, he told an audience in Sydney that there was only one other city in the world where pedestrians were treated as badly; London.