Copenhagen ranks as one of the top bike-friendly cities in the world. How Copenhageners daily commute by bike mesmerizes people around the globe. Urban planners visit Copenhagen to see first-hand how the Copenhagen municipality and city developers seek to develop a bike-friendly environment.
Copenhagen has put itself on the international landmark, and Copenhagenize has internationally become a buzzword in the city-planning work.
Copenhagen more than just a bike-friendly city
Danish cycling culture, in short, is a practical way of commuting, which from a municipality perspective takes some of the car traffic of the streets. Today the Copenhagen infrastructure is, therefore, depending on the bike as the number one choice of commuting.
Copenhagenize as a concept is a way of grasping this cycling culture, and the bike-friendly city-planning in Copenhagen. It has become a huge selling point not only for Copenhagen but Denmark as well.
Is it though possible that in this pursuit to make Copenhagen the number one bike-friendly city in the world, a risk of missing a broader perspective on the urban infrastructure of Copenhagen? When I commute, I only encounter some bits and parts of the DNA of Copenhagen. I like to think that I experience the city in its full as I travel by bike. But here I am fooling myself.
Living in the gaps
Cities are complex entities which in its full are hard to grasp. For decades, the Danish Architect Jan Gehl have tried to understand the various components that make up what we consider to be a city. He believes that successful city-planning is all about creating life in the city gaps. Therefore, life should not only be understood as the life that takes place inside the built constructions, but also between the buildings. In addition to this, I would argue, that the daily life not only happening when we commute but even when we choose to stop up and dwell in the multitude landscapes of the city.
The cycling culture as a choice of commuting no doubt makes the capital efficient. Here the bike lanes in Copenhagen plays a significant role in how people interact with the city. However, other elements also have an impact on the use of the city spaces provided. A variety of factors forms the urban infrastructure; such as the physical outlay of the capital, climate, socioeconomic and culture.
These are factors we have to take into considerations, in striving to create urban areas that is inviting and where people want to live. Hence why do we chose to live in the city?
Living in Copenhagen is more than commuting, we have to ask our self; where do I unconsciously want to stop and stay for a longer time? When am I just on my way from a to b? And lastly, when and where does the Danish windy chill factor become an issue for my experience of the city’s spaces?
The Copenhagen life changes with seasons
In the summertime, Copenhagen has it’s long summer days and the bright summer nights. The outdoor urban spaces become part of the resident’s backyard, given Copenhagen a vibrant and atmosphere.
As the season changes and the weather get colder and more chilly, the Copenhageners are seeking indoor on the many cafeés or are cozying up home or privately by their friends. Only to come out when commuting from a to b.
Then on those rare days, where the sun is out, and the wind is calm, Copenhageners are coming out of their apartments, strolling the streets and even sitting down on the benches while drinking hot takeaway beverages.
So, It is my firm opinion that we cannot reduce Copenhagen life to be just about the Danish cycling culture. What makes Copenhagen, Copenhagen are more than just the bike traffic and bike lanes. Copenhagen life is changing depending on the changes in the seasons. As well city planners continually are looking for new ways to improve the conditions for the everyday cycling commuters; they should also have a focus on creating inviting urban areas, but most of all securing that life in the gaps can take place.
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