Sløyf ikke menneskene

Er det så enkelt? At hvis vi sløjfer bilveje, så kommer der mindre biltrafik?

»Det er jeg helt sikker på. Jens Rørbech, Københavns tidligere stadsingeniør, siger, at alle byer i verden har et tilfældigt niveau af trafik, som er afhængigt af, hvor megen plads der er givet til den. Han havde det princip, at når der var tegn på trafikpropper et sted i København, fjernede han en kørebane og gjorde arealet til biler mindre. Så blev det rigtig galt i nogle få dage – og så forsvandt problemet«.

Dette er et utdrag fra intervjuet med Jan Gehl i Politiken 22.5.2010. Utsagnet er så direkte relevant for mitt syn på samferdselsplanleggingen at jeg ikke kunne la det stå uberørt. Det er dog ikke dette temaet jeg vil ta opp nå. Jan Gehls nye bok, “Byer for mennesker”, påpeker nemlig også andre viktige momenter i vår tids byplanlegging, og hvordan planleggingen gang på gang overser det viktigste, mennesket. Spesielt viderefører den de “gehlske” prinsipper om byutvikling for den menneskelige skala, som påpekt i klassikeren, “Livet mellom husene”.

"Byer for mennesker" - Jan Gehl

I intervjuet trekker Jan Gehl fram den danske bydelen Ørestad som et mislykket byutviklingsprosjekt. Etter selv å ha vandret og syklet gatelangs i København et år, kunne jeg ikke vært mer enig. Problemet med Ørestad, eller Ødestad som det kalles på folkemunne, er nettopp det at de store flater gjør området livløst. Det er rett og slett ikke nok mennesker til å fylle de store grønne slettene eller bevandre de brede gatene, og det menneskelige aspektet og intimiteten er glemt. Det er lett å sammenligne dagens byutviklingsprosjekter i Oslo med erfaringene fra Ørestad. Hvorfor tar ikke byutviklerne denne lærdommen til seg? Og hvorfor utfordres ikke prinsipper for bygnings- og uteromsutforming ytterligere? Sitter vi fast i en kultur der gatehierarkiet og de “rene” fasader er de ypperste målekriterier for en vellykket byutvikling?

Jeg tar Bjørvika som eksempel. Designhåndboken som vedtatt av bystyret i 2003 deler områdeutviklingen opp i ulike temaer. I Tema 3: Bygningsforming, nevnes ikke det menneskelige med ett ord. Hyppigere gjentatte formuleringer er “bygningsvegg”(!), “høy arkitektonisk kvalitet” og noen av illustrasjonsfotoene ligner rett og slett på de dårlige storskalaeksemplene. Nå er det (forhåpentligvis) sikkert mange aspekter ved Bjørvika som kan være gode, og fokus på uteområdene er tilstede i andre deler av designmanualen (Tema 2: Gaterom og infrastruktur). Allikevel kan det synes merkelig at temadelene er såpass adskilte. Jeg håper sammenhengen, helheten og det menneskelig er bedre ivaretatt i detaljplanene og senere revidering av planene. Bjørvikas sentrale plassering gjør nok sitt til at området nødvendigvis ikke blir øde som Ørestad, men skal man overlate det til (den antakeligvis svært homogene) befolkningen å skape et liv og gi identitet til en ny sjelløs bydel?

Menneskelig skala i Bjørvika?

På tross av min enighet angående de menneskelige prinsipper, kan jeg ikke la være å påpeke en viss utilfredshet med de stadige idékatalogene Gehl Arkitekter utvikler for byutviklingsprosjekter verden over. De står nemlig også for temaheftene for blant annet bygningsdesign og byrom i Bjørvikaprosjektet. Disse virker dessverre for meg, dog i kjent Gehl-stil, så prinsipielle at det skal over gjennomsnittlig god fantasi til for å se en sammenhengende utforming av området. Prinsippene er gode i seg selv, men det fungerer heller som en katalog med bilder og skisser av eksisterende ideelle bygnings- og gatestrukturer fremfor konkret områdetilpasning og utforming av en særegen bydel i Oslo. Hvem bestemmer så videre hvilke prinsipper og strukturer som skal råde?

Eksempel fra temahefte (Gehl Arkitekter)

Jeg håper inderlig min, og mange andres, kritikk blir gruset, og at den såkalte fjordbyen både blir levende, mangfoldig og intim. Uansett får vi se fram til å oppdage Oslos nye bydel “i øjenhøjde”, når den tid kommer…

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Sykkelstimen

I won’t translate this poem by the Norwegian poet Rudolf Nilsen, but in short it describes the morning atmosphere in the streets of Copenhagen. Rudolf Nilsen died only 29 years old in 1929, but his work made history in Oslo. You can hear some of his beautiful songs here.

Rudolf Nilsen:
Sykkelstimen

(Snapshot fra Kjøbenhavn.)

Et sus av sykler på Rådhusplass!
Trafikk—konstablen — den Urias
—går rundt og rundt som en snurrebass!

For klokken nærmer sig stygt mot ni,
og alle piker må henge i
så sjefen ikke får no å si!

Kontorer venter sal alvorsfullt
med bøker, skrivemaskin og pult
de tusener templer for mammonkult.

Og alle mammons prestinner skal
gi møte hver i sin tempelhall
og telle penger og skrive tall.

ja gid, de har det så travelt, så!
Men skjønt det gjelder å trå og trå,
så er det mangt som må passes på.

For vinden tar ofte skjørtet med
og viser frem — ikke kun et kne,
men mer enn mannfolk bør få se!

Og er enn brystene bare kart,
så vipper de i den hårde fart —
og likevel må det kjøres hardt!

Ja, alle syklende blomster små
har mangt og meget å tenke på.
Og snart vil rådhusets klokker slå!

Det smiler atter en morgenstund
med store tenner av gull i munn:
pesetas, dollar og franc og pund!

Kilde: På gjensyn

Copenhagen 1937

I’m now spending my last days in Copenhagen before returning to the not so bicycle friendly city of Oslo. So it suits with this old travel video from 1937 (“Copenhagen – a FitzPatrick Traveltalk”). Look at the traffic – the bicycles, the tram, the walking people and the few cars. It seems like they all float together, though with a helping hand from the constable. An obvious change in the city image today is the absence of a tram, increase in amount of cars and the bicycle lanes and traffic lights, but the amount of bicyclists is still large. They’re everywhere, and you can still see people cycling with furniture in Copenhagen…

Enjoy this wonderful image of the Danish capital.

Climate first – People first – Bicycle first?

As probably many have noticed, yesterday was the huge climate demonstration in Copenhagen. As I passed by Charlottenborg square on my way to the library (yes someone still have some school to do), a large group of people had already gathered, and as I stood there more and more joined in. It’s so far the largest demonstration ever held on danish ground, and the newspaper Politiken says there were 100.000 people walking towards Bella Center.

Read more of this post

Copenhagen’s new Bike Sharing System!

OPENbike

Copenhagen is about to get a new Bike Sharing system (finally), and of course the ambitions where high for the new system that will brand the world’s leading bicycle city. Therefore they set out an international competition to get the most modern and intelligent system. And it looks like they’ve got it. Yesterday the winners were announced, and here are the two first prices. I must admit OPENbike looks most appealing in my eyes, but as long as they’re more comfortable than the existing ones, we should be happy…. Read more of this post

Copenhagen Cycle Chic COP15-competition

Just to mention, for those of you in Copenhagen these days; now you can win this beauty of a bicycle from Velobris. Go to Copenhagen Cycle Chic, enter 25 words, and maybe you’ll be the lucky one bringing some Danish chicness to your hometown.

Danes and their bicycle culture…

Here’s another reason why Danes would win the “bicycle culture-competition”. Their bicycle culture reflects in all kinds of media, and making songs about bicycling seems like the most natural thing to do. Or at least in earlier times…

These videos are both in danish, but the last one might be nice to watch even for non-Scandinavians…

This first one is with Povl Kjøller, which made children songs in the 70’s. This way he helped making the bicycle a natural part of many Danes’ childhood and education.

This one is from Poul Henningsens much debated Denmark-movie from 1935.

Climate Bottom Meeting

The climate meeting COP15 in Copenhagen has started today, and the city is full of people concerned with climate issues on all scales. The conference arena in Bella Centre is packed with delegates from all over the world, (and as the news said today, there was not enough space for the huge interest), a boat from Greenpeace arrived a couple of days ago, and thousands of activists, researches and other interested people from all over the world are gathering throughout the city to, in many different ways, take part of the 1,5 week long conference.

What is to be said and decided in these Climate Change meetings is uncertain and vague for me. They’ll probably not solve one single climate problem in Bella Centre (and anyhow it seems inaccessible in many ways to most people), but one already apparent result is the grand attention towards climate issues in all kinds of fora. Wherever you walk in Copenhagen you’ll either hear, see or feel there is something going on, and there are many ways to approach and participate the climate debate these days…

One opportunity is to go to Christiania, where they every single day have a “Climate Bottom Meeting” which will serve as an alternative view on the climate issue, and how we all can change the world. You’ll find the whole program on this page, but I will highlight two days which seems interesting for city planners and/or bicycle enthusiasts :)

Sunday 13th – Ecological Construction and Urban Renewal from Below Focus on sustainable building/architecture and urban change.

Monday 14th – Sustainable Energy – The Ecological Footprint Focus on new forms of energy, and how to get to the CO2-neutral society. I will definitely try to attend the part of this meeting concerning bicycles…

Transport
Moderator: Jane Kruse, Danish People’s Center.

14.20-14.40 Christoffer Lux and Anders Rosenqvist Energy-Bike and its successful story Also demonstration of the bike by children from Christiania
15.00-15.15 Per Jørgensen Møller, Engeneer & President of the Danish Committee for Electric Cars The cars of the future
15.20-15.50 Esben Larsen & Chresten Træholt, lecturer at the Danish Technical University and students from DTU Electric cars, what then?
15.55-16.15 Holger Jørgensen, Bicyclelogical Institute The modern Transport-structure with coupling to climate care and bicycle traffic
16.20-16.30 Lars Engstrøm and Annie Lerche, Christiania Bikes The fairytale of the Christiania bikes
Jane Kruse outlines and introduces the hall to:
16.35-16.50 Lars Barfoed (Conservative Party), transport minister ‘Future Transport System  in Denmark’ Mike Legarth (CP), spokeman for Christiania

Put the fun between your legs

Put the fun between your legs: The Bike Bloc

For the UN summit Mobilisations in Copenhagen, Climate Camp is teaming up with artactivist collective The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (link) to design and build a new tool of civil disobedience, to be unleashed on the RECLAIM POWER day of action on 16th December. Made from hundreds of recycled bikes, The Bike Bloc will merge device of mass transportation and pedal powered resistance machine, postcapitalist bike gang and art bike carnival.

(copied from the web-page)

Social change – COP15

I’m sorry for not writing in such a long time, but my mind has been elsewhere for some time…

It’s been brought to my attention that  the bicycle activist and author, Chris Carlsson from San Francisco, is coming to Scandinavia this week. He will be talking about the importance of social change – how movements and social activism can reach immediate change towards greener societies.

The event in Copenhagen will actually be already tomorrow, Wednesday. I might be going, so give me a call if you’ll join in. The one in Oslo is on Saturday, and in december he’ll be in Stockholm. I urge everyone to consider it.


November 25th, 19:00
Bogcafé 61, Dortheavej 61, 2400 København NV

“American author Chris Carlsson comes to to discuss the ways in which people are creating alternatives to capitalism in the here and now. He argues that DIY activities such as free software and guerilla gardening point the way towards a profound social transformation.

KlimaX member Oskar Larsson will talk about the connection between capitalism and climate change. He will de-mystify some of the COP15 mechanisms and argue that the COP15 process does not present a real solution to climate change, but will only provide a green image for business as usual.” (Kilde: modkraft.dk)

November 28th, 14:00
Humla, Hausmania, Hausmanns gate 34, 0182 Oslo

Program:
14:00  Utopia starts now! – Nowtopia!
15:00  Planka.nu – Public transport and climate activism
16:00  Open Space discussion An open discussion to facilitate action and ideas.

More information on the Oslo-event here.

December 5th:
Kafé 44, Stockholm, Sweden

If you’re not able to attend any of these events, you can watch this interview with Chris Carlsson to get an idea of what he’s talking abour…