An article written by Meredith Glaser and Mikael Conville-Anderson, both mobility experts for Copenhagenize Design Company. For 7,000 years, since the first cities were formed, streets had a very distinct role. People gathered in them, transported themselves, and sold their goods. Then a massive paradigm shift altered our perception of streets. The car. When the automobile became more widespread in the early 1900s, people were still accustomed to using the streets as their domain. Collisions became commonplace, people (including children) were dying and nobody had a solution to the accelerating traffic safety problem. Almost in desperation, engineers were handed the job, in collaboration with the automobile industry who eyed an opportunity. Nearly overnight, streets become regarded as public utilities, like electricity or sewage. They were puzzles to be solved with mathematical equations. Citizens were herded into new concepts called sidewalks and crosswalks and children into fenced-in playgrounds. Finally, the streets were clear for cars.
“The bicycle makes sense in cities. It’s an affordable, efficient method of transportation. It’s green, it’s healthy – but those are tag-along benefits and miss the point. People want to get from A to B in the quickest way possible.”