Saturday, June 6, 2009

London looking to Copenhagen's Cycling Culture

The Copenhagen Post

Architect to push London bike culture


London city officials are hoping a Danish exhibition promoting cycling can help create a bicycle culture in the capital

Architect Jan Gehl has agreed to an offer from Greater London Authority to try and adapt the English capital into a bicycle haven.

Gehl previously assisted city officials in New York last autumn in their quest to make the US city more bike-friendly, and is also currently part of Australia’s ‘Sustainable Sydney’ project.

In September, London plans to present an exhibition on Danish bicycle design and Gehl’s own efforts to tailor big cities more to bicycle culture and pedestrians, together with the support of Boris Johnson, mayor of London.

Lone Britt Molloy, Denmark’s cultural attachĂ© to the UK, said the city’s mayor is extremely interested in promoting bicycle culture.

It was obvious we had to get a dialogue going with the city council and arrange an exhibition where they had the possibility to influence its content,’ she told financial daily Børsen. ‘I also think it makes it more interesting for Londoners that the exhibition is put forth purely as a Danish phenomenon.’

But Gehl said adapting London to Copenhagen standards is a big challenge.

‘The sad thing about London is that nothing’s really happening with its bicycle culture right now,’ Gehl said. ‘But there is some tailwind for cyclists because organisations and architects are putting serious pressure on the city, and due to it hosting the 2012 Olympics it will have everyone’s eyes on it.’

Gehl added that many big cities are looking to Copenhagen for input in their city planning because of the need to minimise fuel consumption.

The London exhibit is expected to conveniently coincide with the city’s annual London Freewheel day, where large sections of the city are closed to traffic.


  1. Very interesting insight - a lot to be learned from Copenhagen. Hopefully big changes will come to London.

  2. When I was last in London (June 2006), I saw quite a few bike commuters wearing protective masks over their nose and mouth to block out some of the pollution. Still, they rode on.