city life

Stop perceiving Copenhagen as a 'tourist attraction' by Kwinten Lambrecht

Summer is over, blogging can start again!

In the beginning of the Summer we spent a couple of weeks in Stockholm and Copenhagen, both example cities when it comes to quality of life, public space and well-being.

Copenhagen struck me the most, thanks to its fantastic cycle lanes, infrastructure and places to innovate, dine, drink and hang out. We were lucky to get some insider tips from my good friend Kristoffer, that helped a lot!

Still, I often hear from people that "Copenhagen is great, it's the cycling walhalla". Suddenly, even car freaks start to enjoy cycling. The natural reflex, even from tourists, is to leave their car at home and to cycle multiple kilometers in the city, even when it rains! For them, it's almost a tourist attraction to see all those Danes cycle day in day out. 

That brings me to the most critical point: policy makers in Copenhagen have designed their city on the human scale. It's not 'Disneyland', it's not made like this because cycling is 'fun'. No, the city serves its citizens, with fantastic parks, places to swim, streets where kids can play and cycle lanes that almost hug you as a result.

Copenhagen Swimming Pool - LAMBYK

Once home, tourists get back in their cars and tell each other that they had a great cycling holiday. Point final. The car life continues. And you cannot blame them. Since our policy makers have made it so difficult to cycle that you are still considered to be a lunatic when you tell them you "came by bike". Company cars, terrible infrastructure, non-visionary politicians, .... It's a dangerous, conservative cocktail that needs to be served in the gutter for once and for all. 

The potential to get people on a bike exists, you just have to provide them with the luxury that they encounter in 'cycling city' Copenhagen. Simply waiting for thousands of daredevils who take the streets of Brussels (and Flanders & Wallonia) is a bit too optimistic, I believe...

Copenhagen - LAMBYK

7 reasons why Lyon is winning as a city for people by Kwinten Lambrecht

I recently went on a trip to Lyon. It's a true example of how a city can make its citizens happy. It has a holistic approach to city planning and designing public space. Lyon has the same size as Brussels, around the same numbers of inhabitants (1.3 million) and counts even 40 more municipalities than Brussels does. Nothing is impossible, Brussels!
From what I have seen Lyon is a safe, clean and vibrant place to live, eat, drink and work in. Take good care of your people, and people will take care of your city.

The cycling infrastructure

More than 650 km of safe cycle lanes, bridges and connections.

More than 650 km of safe cycle lanes, bridges and connections.

Les quais

The quays next to the river Saône are an amazing place to hang out, sport, bicycle, walk. That's how you embrace water in your city!

The quays next to the river Saône are an amazing place to hang out, sport, bicycle, walk. That's how you embrace water in your city!

The cycling tunnel

This tunnel, only for cyclists, pedestrians and electric buses connects two parts of the city. Photo via  Almost Landing .

This tunnel, only for cyclists, pedestrians and electric buses connects two parts of the city. Photo via Almost Landing.

Green spaces

Everywhere you go you can find green pavements, small parks, flowers. Green spaces help to support new ecosystems and to cool down cities.

Everywhere you go you can find green pavements, small parks, flowers. Green spaces help to support new ecosystems and to cool down cities.

The open air swimming pool

You may not be able to swim in the river, but Lyon does have amazing open air swimming facilities; something Brussels is craving for.

You may not be able to swim in the river, but Lyon does have amazing open air swimming facilities; something Brussels is craving for.

Squares

This photo is taken in Villeurbane; Lyon has many squares with sports facilities, skate parks, ...

This photo is taken in Villeurbane; Lyon has many squares with sports facilities, skate parks, ...

There's a public zoo!

In the massive Parc de la Tête d'Or you can find a magnificent botanical garden and.. a zoo! Free of charge!

In the massive Parc de la Tête d'Or you can find a magnificent botanical garden and.. a zoo! Free of charge!