Citizens and policy makers boost urban cycling

22 September 2016

 From London and Paris to Barcelona and Berlin, authorities seek to boost cycling and make their cities more livable. Some cities have managed to create a lasting result. In others, urban cycling is barely increasing. Cycling Cities brings us over a hundred unique photos and maps, richly illustrating why only some capitals and business centers became real cycling cities. Covering a century of cycling policy and practice in 14 European cities in nine countries, this work shows how policy makers, activists, and ordinary citizens make—and have made—a difference.

The 14 case studies in Cycling Cities provide a fascinating new insight into how urban areas developed their own unique cycling culture‒from the capitals Antwerp, Amsterdam, Budapest, Copenhagen, and Stockholm, to the industrial hubs Eindhoven, Lyon, Manchester, and Southeast Limburg, and the business towns Basel, Enschede, Hannover, Malmö, and Utrecht.

Over the past century, local European policymakers curtailed or encouraged cycling. They mandated the building or destruction of cycling infrastructures; they granted or outright denied cyclists’ rights to all roads, creating public transit systems in competition or in tandem with walking and cycling.

The international authors trace the role of authorities and engineers as well as cyclists and community groups in creating local cycling policies and practices. They show how these local outcomes resonated in transnational debates on urban mobility and livability alongside traffic management and safety. They compare the urban areas' vividly varying histories of embracing pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.

Cycling Cities provides a long-term and transnational perspective for everyone interested in today's urban mobility, sustainability, and cycling. The book offers policymakers, community groups, politicians, scholars, and teachers a new understanding of the patterns behind the development of cycling in urban traffic.

Cycling Cities is the first outcome of the international research and teaching program Sustainable Urban Mobility, 1890-present (SUM). This program was initiated by Eindhoven University of Technology and the Foundation for the History of Technology in collaboration with an international consortium of universities, government agencies, businesses, and social organizations.

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