You can’t do that with a car!

In lieu of words today, I’m posting some photos, taken by Charlotte Morton, modelling provided by Harriet Elliot (standing in for my Primrose) and myself (standing in for Charlotte Morton). The kitchen of the future, when apartments are designed for bike access, will have durable surfaces and resonate with the aesthetic of our cargo bikes.

If you would like a dose of my prose, check out the article I published today with ArchDaily.

6 Comments

  1. jqr10001 says:

    I always liked bringing the coffee with me bungeed to the back of the box, but tastes do vary! Great kitchen.

  2. nikdow says:

    My comment here is about a series of ideas, broader than this article, that Mr Behooving has presented over the last year or so.
    I’m in agreement (in awe actually) with the project of formulating a utopia for bikes. I’ll move there as soon as it’s established.

    Got some suggestions. I don’t think sloping buildings are a good idea. What a long ride to ground level! Just put in big enough lifts to fit several cargo bikes. These could be retrofitted into existing buildings perhaps, as they are converted from old warehouses/office space into trendy inner suburban apartments. I have only found one lift anywhere that I can fit my bullitt into, none at railway stations, nor at residential buildings.

    Providing weather cover? Sure, in moderation. In Australia it would get very hot under a transparent roof. Don’t we enjoy the sunshine, and the wind in our hair? Not too much protection please!

    Separating shops instead of having avenues? Not so sure this is a good idea. People will still want to walk short distances after parking their bike, and having agglomerations of people provides atmosphere. People like company.

    Similarly, being able to cycle underneath buildings in order to make “a bee-line” might not be such a great idea. Concentrating (bicycle) traffic onto routes provides company and supervision. Having buildings off the ground removes activation through shops and other active frontages and supervision through windows. Riding around buildings is no big deal. Having a fairly uniform height limit reduces wind at lower levels (the “urban canopy” effect), whereas having buildings on stilts removes wind protection.

    I do like the idea of putting slow points at higher elevations. Maybe bicycle entrance doors should be elevated in this way, giving on to the the big cargo-bike lifts at level 1, while pedestrian entrances would be at ground level.

    • Steven says:

      I couldn’t disagree with you more 🙂

    • Steven says:

      Nik, first, thank you for taking the time to outline your reservations. They’re all concerns I have worked though so it is my pleasure to respond.

      “I don’t think sloping buildings are a good idea. What a long ride to ground level!”

      A 1:20 gradient ramp takes you down by one level (3m) for every 60 meters that you traverse. Rolling down a 5m wide aerial street at 6 meters per second (hardly reckless), means 10 seconds per level, or two minutes from the 12th floor to the ground. By the time you have walked to the lift, pushed the button, crammed in, and stopped to pick others up on the way down, I could be two blocks away.

      “In Australia it would get very hot under a transparent roof.”
      A saw tooth roof admits daylight without direct sun and still allows breeze. I would advocate the right canopies for every climate. Remember too that a bicycling city would be ultra permeable so have lots of routes — enough to choose sun or cover as you prefer.

      “Separating shops instead of having avenues? Not so sure this is a good idea. People will still want to walk short distances after parking their bike, and having agglomerations of people provides atmosphere. People like company.”

      I won’t be arguing in my next book that planners should push shops apart. Rather, I’ll be saying that shop keepers in a city where everyone leaves home on a bike will shun strip locations that cyclists can’t visually register. If left to organically arrange themselves, I think merchants would try to spread out, and try to lure bikes inside. This happens in driving environments: no merchant wants another drive-through right next to their drive-through. As to the claim that people “like” company, the only people I have heard belabour that point have struck me as perverts 🙂

      “Similarly, being able to cycle underneath buildings in order to make “a bee-line” might not be such a great idea. Concentrating (bicycle) traffic onto routes provides company and supervision. Having buildings off the ground removes activation through shops and other active frontages and supervision through windows. Riding around buildings is no big deal.” No, permeability beats funnelling every time. From a cycling perspective, I recommend you read David Hembrow’s thoughts about funnelling bike traffic as happens in Copenhagen, with it’s dearth of bridges and over-sized blocks.

      “having buildings on stilts removes wind protection” Wouldn’t allowing some wind under buildings stop it being concentrated between them? In any case, all the canopies and trees I’m proposing would create lots of air friction at ground level.

      “while pedestrian entrances would be at ground level.” No, remember this motto: low means go, high means slow. The higher lever is where bikes are slowed to pedestrian speed so both are able mix.

      Nik: I would love to get you involved in our studio! Not many people even have the patience to entertain new urban forms.

  3. nikdow says:

    I’ve been more concerned with rescuing existing cities, particularly my own. Melbourne was built with wide straight streets – a reaction to the crowded, narrow twisting streets of old world cities. We could be luxuriating in linear parks with cycleways, trees and grass, outdoor eating, bocce courts etc and still have one lane of car traffic each way.
    That’s except for the tram streets where you need to make the tram stops so big no cars can get past (but leave a cycle lane).
    Instead we have 4 lanes of traffic, two parking lanes and sometimes parking in the centre of the road as well, no space for bikes and crowded footpaths with outdoor dining, newspaper stands etc getting in the way.

    I totally agree with your idea to paint a cycling utopia. Many ideas can be tested and new ideas proposed which could then be applied to both new and old developments.

    And the one thing I don’t like about my cargo bike is that I can’t wheel it into the kitchen. Unpacking the shopping at the kitchen bench is so convenient. I do bring it into some shops to load up – Organic Wholefoods in Brunswick lets me do that, and of course the Queen Victoria Market, where all the stalls are close and you can walk your bike between them (sorry, I had to slip that in).

    You attack my attack on bee-lines by comparing the opposite extreme, Copenhagen around the harbour. Permeability is good, but rectangular blocks don’t funnel to an extreme degree. Wasting the ground floor everywhere seems crazy to me. Where are you going to put those dispersed shops? One of the things I like about using a bike is that you do bump into people on the street, to a greater extent than any other form of transport (including walking).I’d make all the ground floors face outward, as shops, community spaces, civic facilities etc.

    On the sloping ramps to exit, I can’t do the maths in my head, but it would impose a maximum size on the perimeter traversed by the ramp. A long building would require multiple ramps to avoid needing to traverse the entire length of the building, this would also set a limit on the number of trips on each ramp, i.e. avoid overcrowding.

    Might have to do some modelling of the wind underneath the elevated buildings but having uniform heights should keep the ground level wind to a minimum.

    • Steven says:

      Hi Nik, you’ve got to get me some photos of yourself with your bike at the market stalls and in wholefoods!

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