Tag Archives: Amsterdam

Cycling Friendly Cities

The film features lots of happy cyclists from the Netherlands, Denmark and Colombia, and shows how creating a bicycle-friendly city is the civilised thing to do.

Scripted by Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá and the poster-child for city-wide bicycle advocacy, the movie was produced by the Netherlands-based Interface for Cycling Expertise (I-CE).
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Posted in Auto Independence, can bicycles save the world?, Climate Change, Culture, human scale, Livability, Placemaking, Sustainability, Transportation, urban design, urban planning, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Beauty Kills—A Self-Rebuttal: Or, Why Joel Kotkin isn’t Always Wrong

In my recent post, Universal Beauty and the Responsibility of Cities, I argued that beauty is an essential element of urbanism. Forget all of that for a moment; here’s the other side of the coin: beauty kills. It can turn cities into lifeless museums animated only by tourists, inhibiting creativity and innovation while exacerbating segregation and homogenization. Look at any interior design magazine spread; room upon room of artful still-life orchestration. These are rooms that pose, not rooms that are lived in. Look at fashion models, their faces inscrutable and eyes vacant. True, this is not the sort of beauty I was advocating, but an emphasis on beauty can quickly lead one astray if untempered. Beauty is essential, yes, but it can be as intoxicating as drugs, and potentially as destructive.
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Universal Beauty and the Responsibility of Cities

In chapter eight of Anthony M. Tung’s erudite and impressive Preserving the World’s Great Cities: The Destruction and Renewal of the Historic Metropolis, there is a passage that stopped me in my proverbial tracks and hasn’t left my thoughts since. Tung is writing about Amsterdam at the dawn of the 20th century:

As parts of the inner city became slums and were threatened with clearance, and as picturesque canals were filled in to create new roads and better circulation, elements of the historic environment began to be eliminated. Growing numbers of citizens became alarmed and called for preservation of the historic center. In addition, a new ring of speculative housing began to surround the old metropolis. Numerous Amsterdammers began to ask that the expansion of the city meet a reasonable standard of beauty. Continue reading

Posted in Culture, History, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Placemaking, Rants, Sustainability, Uncategorized, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

from Copenhagenize: Bicycle Commuter Superhighways

The City of Copenhagen is currently planning to expand the existing, extensive network of bike lanes to extend farther out into the suburbs. A network of 13 high-class routes – ‘bicycle superhighways’ if you will – dedicated to bicycle commuters and aimed at encouraging more to cycle to work. Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Placemaking, Rants, Shout Outs, Sustainability, transit, Transportation, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment