Monday, December 14, 2009

COP15: A bit of good news for a change
Copenhagen’s Climate-Friendly, Bike-Friendly Streets

Now for a bit of good news from that is for the rest of this week the sustainable development capital of our gasping planet, Copenhagen. And there she goes again, the redoubtable Elizabeth Press of StreetFilms who follows Mikael Colville-Andersen, bicycle advocate and filmmaker around while he gives us a guided tour of the cycling scene -- and in the process helps us understand why we can do it too. And why we should. Thanks Michael. Thanks again Liz - our eyes on the street.

- Click here to view the video

From StreetFilms today:

Tens of thousands of people from nearly every nation on earth have descended on Copenhagen this month for the UN climate summit. As the delegates try to piece together a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they're also absorbing lessons from one of the world's leading cities in sustainable transportation. In Copenhagen, fully 37 percent of commute trips are made by bike, and mode share among city residents alone is even higher.

Come see "the busiest bicycling street in the Western world", and lots of other you-gotta-see-them-to-believe-them features including bike counters (featuring digital readouts), LEDS, double bike lanes (for passing) and giant hot pink cars.

Copenhagen wasn't always such a bicycling haven. It took many years of investment in bike infrastructure to reclaim streets from more polluting, less sustainable modes. Last week, I was able to squeeze in a whirl-wind tour with Mikael Colville-Andersen, the bike culture evangelist behind Copenhagenize and Copenhagen Cycle Chic, to get a taste of the city's impressive bike network and cycling amenities. Watch this video and see how Copenhageners flock to the streets by bike even in December, when average temperatures hover just above freezing.

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The city of Copenhagen was did not just wake up one morning and find itself one of the cycling capitals of the world. They were headed here, just like the rest of us. A bit like this.

What happened then, starting in the second half of the sixties is that the city combined openness to new ideas, civic participation and wise governance. Mix and shake hard and long. A great recipe for a great city.

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Mikael Colville Andersen is most well-known for his bicycle advocacy with the Cycle chic movement based on the Copenhagen Cycle Chic Movement, a streetstyle blog having launched a global trend of cycling in normal clothes. Called The Sartorialist on Two Wheels by The Guardian he is Denmark's leading bicycle culture ambassador.

Elizabeth Press is a media maker. Since 2007 she has been documenting the livable streets movement in New York City as a videographer for the online vlog As part of Streetfilms advocacy, Elizabeth has traveled to make videos that demon-strate best practices for better biking, walking and mass transit.

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