Socioecological Dimensions of Bicycling Cities

The more I try to understand bicycling transportation the more nuanced my sense is of the connections to every other part of our lives, the complexity.  I just read an article that touches on this complexity.  It is called The Bicycle is a Catalyst for Nature Conservation and it appears on a nonprofit collaborative called The Nature of Cities that explores cities as ecosystems of people, nature and infrastructure.  It is not a perfect article but it gets better as it goes along and does a good job exploring.  We seem to be entering a fundamental shift in the way we think about our cities, from places environmentalists abhor and run away from, to being harbingers of the change towards more sustainable, equitable and connected ways of living.  In conserving nature we enable the conservation of humanity and discover more about ourselves.

Here’s a snapshot of organizing themes from the article, and a couple quotes:

More bikes=more connectivity, awareness, compassion, and innovation
More bicycles = more space for nature
More bicycles = less pollution, more resources
More bikes = more environmental justice

“I recently visited a suburb of Johannesburg.  Ecologically dull, aesthetically grim, traffic congested, socially segregated, it is dominated by roads, car parks and shopping complexes—a superb example of bad urban planning, a suburb designed for cars not people. Yet it resembles much of the modern world—a world that is rapidly transforming through low-density car-infatuated urban sprawl.”

“Green infrastructure generates multiple ecosystem services that support human wellbeing including education, recreation, spiritual fulfilment, storm water absorption, climate regulation, and food production.”

We can plan, design, and build a more vibrant city if we set out to do that, and work together to produce the kind of results we envision are possible.  There are many points of light in this vision.  What we can realize is more than we have yet dared to imagine.  What would happen if we made walking and bicycling the fundamental organizing principles of cities?

Full article here:

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