The Biking Discussion is celebrating one of its peaks around Europe’s different capitols.
In London, Mayor Boris Johnson just launched a plan for £913m to improve biking habits of the Londoners. From the Dutch model, Johnson wants to build a crossrail for bikes and “de-Lucra-fy” the way of biking. In other words, biking should not just be for fixes and Tour de France-maniacs but a democratic infrastructure where every citizen of London feels welcome. The initiative also has a slogan: Love London Go Dutch!
In Copenhagen, a new super biking way is being built in the northwest part of the city called the “Northwest Passage”. The new connection will be running through an area in which a high rate of social problems exist. The project should therefore not only improve the infrastructure and flexibility but through the everyday eye-to-eye confrontation with the area generate a sense of safety as well as an integration of the different types of Copenhageners. The passage will cost €270.000 and is a part of a plan with a budget of approx. €13,5m. Another step in a “copenhagenized” direction.
Big sums are being invested in the small iron horses, but the amount of money does not seem to worry anyone. It is the (luckily) vision that counts. I find interesting is the way biking in the different capitols are being marked. The two examples from London and Copenhagen carries slogans, if not to say, brands: “Copenhagenize” and “Love London Go Dutch!” – which indeed have shown their qualities. Maybe talking about the brand is even the most important move in the process than actually building the brand. Or in another way of putting it: Talking about biking is biking?
On 1st April in Berlin, new regulations for biking were implemented. The biking debate has therefore also reached the Berliner media. Many are stepping even further and discussing the actual changes in the Berlinian biking system – and culture. The Berliner Senate is expected to release a new infrastructural plan at the end of the year. Maybe it pays off not to focus on the costs and instead to read a bit about branding theory before?