Among cities and conurbations in the 5 million-plus category, American car cities boast the fastest commutes and best access to markets.
That is why nations spend billions modelling their cities on Dallas/Fort Worth, and just pennies making their town centres attractive... or more "European".
We can't accept this state of affairs so ask you to join us in considering the unexplored potential of urban cycling. Its lower viscosity means bike traffic is faster than car traffic in a dense city.
Imagine Manhattan-like densities coupled with a permeable ground plane reaching to the edge of a 15kmØ urban growth boundary. What you are picturing is a city where 6 million cyclists would enjoy average commutes of 24 minutes at speeds of just 15kph.
Understanding the potential of a bicycling city is the first step toward imagining an alternative future for the floodplains and brownfields we have passed over because hills were cheaper to develop in the age of the car and of sprawl. With remediation and flood mitigation our cities' lowlands could be sites of an alternative urbanism connected by greenways. Blue indicates the scale of such land that could be redeveloped in Brisbane, Australia.
Even in a city like New York that is saturated with development and saturated with traffic, sufficient non-vehicular space can be found for us to imagine a bicycle oriented development model applying land of no consequence to car-loving voters.
Where hot-house cities like New York have limited space for the pursuance of an alternative paradigm, Detroit, with its vast blighted zones and post-industrial wastelands, could be redefined by bicycle oriented development.
His side-line business providing architectural study tours takes Cycle Space director Steven Fleming to Venice each year. This has led to a collaboration with locals concerned about the island's depopulation to develop a "locals-only" bike transport strategy. Even accounting for bridges, stairs and main tourist routes, space exists for bike transport and cyclelogistics, two things that really could improve living standards for ordinary Venetians.
Our mapping service, combined with a workshop and short report containing travel time figures and a broad master plan for future development, have proven effective in bringing communities together around the question of cycling.
A mapping technique to reveal the potential of cycling and unite communities with a big picture vision.
Developed by Steven Fleming with Ben Thorpe, Charlotte Morton, Harriet Elliot and Amy Pedder.