In saying that I seek to “Copenhagenize” Miami, what exactly does that mean? Copenhagen and Miami are very dissimilar cities, so how can one influence the other? And what is this “Bicycle Culture 2.0” that I speak of? Think of them as keywords that convey in a tight package a lot of information about the change sought for Miami.
In this short series, I’ll be defining the terms Bicycle Culture 2.0, Copenhagenize/Copenhagenizing and Miamize.
It may sound presumptuous: “I want to Copenhagenize Miami.” But there is a reason to use the term. Yes, at its core it has to do with the fact that I’m looking to bring the author of Copenhagenize.com and founder of Copenhagenize Consulting to lecture in Miami. Mikael has a very good brand there and it serves to communicate with any who knows about his blog. But there is more, as even to Mikael, the term Copenhagenize has a meaning.
Aside from Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Denmark, is arguably Europe’s most bike-friendly big city; not only does a large percentage of its population use bicycles on a daily basis, it features an amazing network of bicycling infrastructure. It’s a dream for any urban bicyclist. But this wasn’t always the case.
In the 60s, Copenhagen was about as car-clogged a city as any other. It took a number of visionary politicians with gumption to go against the grain to lay the groundwork that would turn Denmark’s capital into a place where today about 55% of the population choose the bicycle for all trips, where 37% of trips by commuters to work and school are by bikes. Yes, Copenhagen had a bicycling legacy from before the post-WWII car boom to recall, but so does the USA (if on a smaller scale).
Modern bike-friendly Copenhagen didn’t happen, it was made, and that’s precisely what Mikael drives at with Copenhagenize.com and Copenhagenize Consulting: every city can be Copenhagenized–that is, taken through a process wherein it is turned into a bike-friendly place via political enactments that promote safe bicycling and build bike infrastructure that anyone can use.
As stated in Copenhagenize Consulting’s Vision:
Copenhagenizing is a way of describing how urban centres can tackle air and noise pollution, rising health care costs due to lifestyle illnesses and obesity as well as creating more liveable cities. Our goal is inspiring and advising others about how to reestablish the bicycle as a transport form by removing the label of cycling as only a sport or a child’s pastime. We do so by using the Copenhagenize Experience as a guide. In the 1960’s cycling was on the decline but we managed to turn that around thanks to visionary urban planning and political decisions.
And thus why the push to Copenhagenize Miami. We have already taken the first steps ourselves: creating the Bike Miami Days & Rides programs, drafting and getting approved the Miami Bicycle Master Plan (Miami Beach has a Bike Master Plan as well), both efforts that turned the City of Miami in only two years from one of Bicycling Magazine’s worst bicycling cities in the US to a stop in their BikeTown USA bike commuting program, an acknowledgment of progress. Now the push is on to move from plans to action.
Ultimately, though, the goal isn’t to become Copenhagen. We aren’t Copenhagen, we are Miami, and in Mikael’s own words, “We start with Copenhagenizing but really the goal is to […] Miamize as soon as possible.”