Any innovative new field of endeavour is bound to spawn some new idioms and some new jargon. It is no different with bicycletecture. Following are most (I think) of the peculiar terms we return to in our design conversations. We would love to know if any help sharpen your thinking, how you think the terms could be sharpened, or if you think bicycletecture calls for terms overlooked in this list.
B.O.D.: Bicycle Oriented Development.
Brownfield to Bikefield: The idea that redundant industrial sites can be unlocked for B.O.D. as the bulk haulage routes that once served them are turned into cycleways.
Cyclespace: Anywhere a person feels empowered and safe on a bike. The Sunday morning bunch ride constructs a fleeting kind of cyclespace. The performative occupation of space that accompanies bike share and critical mass creates cyclespace, by raising driver awareness. However, truly stable cyclespace can only be created with physical barriers and the elimination of any on-grade interface between slow cyclists and faster machines.
Cyclescaping. Sculpting the ground plane to suit cyclists. Aims include aesthetics (appealing to the arching, leaning bike riding viewer) or practical ones like helping cyclists slow down without braking.
F.A.S.T.: An acronym formed from the tetrad of payoffs that come with bicycle planning: Fitness, Affluence, Sustainability and more Time in our days.
Helical Block: Terrace/row houses arranged in a coil. The convenience of internal access bicycle garaging afforded to residents of row housing is extended to those living off of the ground in higher density contexts.
Bicycle Heterotopia: The second word literally means “Other Space”. It is a concept architectural theorists have taken from Michel Foucault to explain walled off places where rituals contrast and critique everyday life. Bicycle oriented developments (campuses and student housing for instance), connected by greenways, provide cities with bicycle heterotopias that contrast and critique the mainstream car-centric development paradigm.
Alternative Image of the City: The cognitive map you draw of your city will have different paths, edges, districts, nodes and landmarks if you usually cycle, than if you usually drive or use transit. Unlike Kevin Lynch, who invented the term, we don’t seek to unite every citizen of a city by giving them all the same image.
Production of Space: Henri Lefebvre argued that space is as much a social construct as anything that can be measured with Cartesian coordinates. His is a reminder that flawed urban districts, like hilly suburbs that preclude cycling, can be socially reconstructed as wilderness areas. We can agree to ignore them.
Start of Trip Facilities. We all know the concept of an end of trip bike parking facility, usually serving an office. We use the term “start of trip” facilities as a reminder that apartments must accommodate bikes. The suburban house gives the driver internal access from the garage to the kitchen; the same level of amenity is required of apartment blocks designed to serve cyclists.
Toilet Bowl Lesson. In the same way toilet bowls have been used as fireplaces when they have been given to remote villagers, much of the world would see a Dutch cycle track as somewhere to park. The toilet bowl example is from Charles Jencks, a Postmodernist architectural theorist who didn’t see a stair, for example, as a universal symbol for rising, or a cup as a universal symbol for drinking.
Velotopia: A non-existent happy place bike planners can conjure on paper so their plans will be informed by a grand scheme.