Newcastle and Copenhagen – a member’s story

We previously featured an inspiring campaign member’s report from Copenhagen by Adrian, and here’s another from Armelle, also a campaign member. She’s usually found cycling the Jesmond school run – so travelling to Copenhagen in February this year was an eye-opener, even for the architect she is. Read on for how Copenhagen deals with space allocation, mobility, and accessibility and how the world-renowned Gehl Architects approach urban design. Gehl Architects were involved in the master planning for Science City. It will be interesting to see, how much of the master plan concept will pull through the detailed design.

Just back from Copenhagen. Needless to say it feels grim on the cycle side to come back to Newcastle. Copenhagen is a place where you cycle safely, where the municipality is dedicated – for economic and well-being reasons – to improve the already state-of-the-art cycle routes with even greater safety and wider paths. A place where you see ten year olds cycling on their own to their music or sport lesson without parents escorting them everywhere.

Ewa Westermark at Gehl Architects took the time to talk to us about people-centred design. Architects in Copenhagen are commissioned to design processes and not only outcomes to ensure that what is implemented is also embraced by the local people because it is desired and discussed with them. Ewa made it clear: it’s only willed design and a political vision that changes the course of action. Copenhagen was not always a cycle city. People respond to invitations. For their mental health people need to meet or see other people in the street – and these are things that only walking, cycling and public transport can offer.

For inspiration, please go through Copenhagen’s Bicycle Account 2012 [pdf].

Hope you are all well,

Best wishes
Armelle