Book Review of Cycle Space : Architecture and Urban Design in the Age of the Bicycle

"This summer's successful Citibike rollout is remarkable given it is New York City’s first real expansion of a major transportation infrastructure in decades that is not oriented around car usage (besides perhaps, the perpetually delayed and debt-incurring Second Avenue Subway expansion). It also demonstrates what is different about how cities work today: Citibike (as it is, after all, subsidized by Citibank) cost the city little upfront money and allows “users” to take any route they like within the service area and beyond (if they’re willing to pay for it). In contrast to the highly centralized, expensive, and “hard” form of infrastructure represented by the subway and the highway, Citibike might be the perfect form of infrastructure for the contemporary city in this, the iPhone era.

Cyclespace: Architecture & Urban Design in the Age of the Bicycle by Steven Fleming, an architecture professor and avid cyclist in Australia, illustrates a central paradox about biking in the urban context: it holds out the possibility, especially as more people choose to live in dense urban centers, to end our reliance on the automobile and make our cities more environmentally as well as socially sustainable. But many contend that despite biking's recent embrace by big city mayors, it is actually a small fix at best, one that amounts to little more than the endorsement of a bourgeois hobby, and serves as a smokescreen, hiding more trenchant issues of mobility access, auto-dependence, and income inequality."

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Read 14194 times Last modified on Friday, 24 January 2014 05:43

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