How can we make it easier to cycle in American cities?
Bicycle ridership in the United States continues to rise, but we still have a long way to go for lower carbon, human-friendly cities. Calls for solutions to design more bike-friendly U.S. cities often point to the global leader, Scandinavia, for inspiration. Scandinavia has four cities listed among the top 20 most cyclist-friendly, and despite the cold climate has a culture that is integrated with the bicycle. On this program, we’ll explore the prominence of biking in the region, meeting with cycling enthusiasts and experts, surveying urban landscapes, and learning through hands-on prototyping and repair.
We will visit three cities: Copenhagen, Malmö and Stockholm. Copenhagen, Denmark, is the most bike-friendly city in the world—50% of the city commutes via bike—yielding one of the world’s happiest and most sustainable cities. Neighboring Sweden is also leading the way with new cycle infrastructure and bike designs. We will base ourselves there in up-and-coming Malmö, a city with freedom to build its own bike-friendly future. For contrast, we’ll also take the train north to historic Stockholm, to see how it's trying to pivot from its car-centric past. Throughout the trip, we’ll grow familiar with the region's policies, infrastructure, and technologies, and consider what we can learn from Scandinavia to help drive urban innovation in the U.S.
On our first full day we’ll get an introduction to design and an immersive orientation to cycling in Malmö, in order to see what makes the city work. Using Malmö as a home-base, we’ll connect with the cycling community, from getting hands-on at a cooperative cycle workshop to an infrastructure-research ride with local bike shop owners. We’ll also taste famous Swedish meatballs and enjoy a beautiful waterfront picnic in Dania park.
In Stockholm we’ll meet up with some local friends who can share their experience biking in the city, indulge in Herman’s world-famous buffet and harbor views, and sample licorice ice cream. We’ll also go for a walk with a cycle policy expert who can explain the city’s master plan for a cycle-friendly future. On our last day, we’ll finish with a sunset cruise around the Stockholm Archipelago.
We will approach Copenhagen the same way many locals do - on a bike. While we explore the historic palaces and modern architecture, we’ll also put bike-specific transportation projects like the Inderhavnsbroen and the Bicycle Snake under the microscope. Finally, we’ll round out our time with a mixture of work and play, collaborating on visions at a co-working space before a fun night at Tivoli Gardens.
Scandinavia is a region of the world we love to bring people to. From exploring STEM and design to ideas of sustainable cities and, of course, cycling, we have a broad network and perspective on the region. We can adapt this itinerary for an expert audience or even for a city government looking to learn from some of the top cycle cities in the world through meetings with local experts in the region.
We can also adapt the itinerary to get even deeper into the issues or the region, adding stops in Gothenburg or even up further north in Oslo -- or heading to other top cycle cities like Hamburg, Germany, or Amsterdam, Netherlands.
We can approach the outcome of this trip as a critical review of policies, an urban planning or bicycle design project, a new business research project, or something totally different.