Post Velo-City 2017 Op-Ed: On the need to re-connect cycling discourses with its core values

 Esther Anaya-Boig,  Doctoral researcher at Imperial College London

I have just returned from the latest Velo-city Global Cycling Summit organized this year in Arnhem-Nijmegen, The Netherlands. The best part of the conference experience for me was that it gave me an opportunity to catch up with so many old friends and making new ones who share my deep interest in cycling as a mobility form and as a social act.

I appreciate the hard work and good intentions of the many many people who have contributed and made this event possible. However upon considerable reflection on what I saw and heard during the three days of the conference and associated events, I would now like to share some views and reactions, with all due respect of course.
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Slow City: In the beginning were the Provos (and the White Plans)

luud-provo-cop-white-bike

To understand Luud Schimmelpennink’s White Bicycle Plan, it helps to have a look at the broader context of values, philosophy and politics that were prevailing in Amsterdam at that time –  the Provos, a Dutch counterculture youth movement in the mid-1960s.

And if one concludes that this was more or less what was going on in other parts of Europe and North America, you would be right.  And a bit wrong. The Dutch were digging deeper. At least this part of Dutch society was.

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Campaign Help Wanted: Nobel Peace Prize nomination

Dear friends,

I am in the process of preparing a formal nomination of our most creative Dutch colleague, Luud Schimmelpennink, for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition  of his outstanding and unique on-the-street contributions over the last half century, showing the way to sustainable transport, sustainable cities and sustainable lives. You will find a series of articles and testimonials in support of this goal here at https://worldstreets.wordpress.com/tag/thanks-luud/, with more shortly on the way.

Our immediate need is to have the support of  several more official nominators for the Prize, the exact conditions of which are spelled out here. You can reach me at: E. eric.britton@ecoplan.org. S. newmobility T. +336 5088 0787

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Bike-sharing World Map

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Paul DeMaio started The Bike-sharing World Map in 2007 to be the one-stop source for information about the global growth of bike-share services. The Bike-sharing World Map now shares information over 500 bike-share services including the services’ website, fleet and station size, and launch date.

A quick prevue: 2016 ended with a world-wide fleet of approximately 2,000,000 public use bicycles in automated and/or information technology controlled systems in approximately 1,175 cities, municipalities or district jurisdictions in 63 countries. The following online map is searchable for details on all indicated cities and operations.

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www.bikesharingmap.com

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World Streets/Planners Bookshelf on City Cycling

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Surprising though it may seem to some, the humble bicycle has a turnkey role in 21st century cities, large or small, North or South, rich or poor. Getting city cycling right is a matter of high priority when it comes both to local and planetary environmental impacts, solid economics, affordability, fossil fuel and resource savings, public health, equity, democracy and quality of life. For all of those of our cities around the world who have over the last decades bought into the car plus speed plus distance plus lost time lifestyle without giving it much thought, getting this transition right is a significant technical, social and political challenge.

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Glasgow homage to Amsterdam’s historic White Bicycles

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Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010

“The White Bicycle Plan proposes to create bicycles for public use that cannot be locked. The white bicycle symbolizes simplicity and healthy living, as opposed to the gaudiness and filth of the authoritarian automobile.” (Provo Manifesto)

For Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2010, NVA staged a re-enactment of the infamous Witte Fietsenplan (White Bike Plan).

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