Cities & the climate crisis – part of the problem, and the solution

UNFCCC COP20 in Lima, Peru  This blog post (see original) was written and published on the Institute for Development’s Eldis website, as part of a series of blogs published during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP20) underway in Lima, Peru from 1- 12 December 2014. It discusses why cities serve an apt platform to tackle climate change, and the challenges and opportunities of urban climate… Read More Cities & the climate crisis – part of the problem, and the solution

The “how to” of becoming an urban cyclist…

Having spent the last 10 years living (or regularly visiting) established or emerging European cycle cities (e.g. Budapest, Basel, Malmö, Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Paris) it’s safe to say: bicycling is in my blood. This is not just a European thing. I’ve tested urban cycling infrastructure during visits to Abu Dhabi, Medellín, Seoul and Doha. While a city’s walkability and public transport… Read More The “how to” of becoming an urban cyclist…

Happiness is… a bicycle lane, a bus stop or light rail line close to home.

I love my bicycle: the freedom, the chance to combine fresh air, exercise and transport, the interaction with fellow cyclists and the affordability. Cycling makes me happy… and I’m not the only one. Daily cycling (i.e. consistent exercise) is good for mental health and the bicycle’s consistent and perpetual motion can improve memory, reasoning and planning, while… Read More Happiness is… a bicycle lane, a bus stop or light rail line close to home.

Medellín: city of transition, city of hope

In April 2014, urban experts and enthusiasts from around the world travelled to Medellín, Colombia for UN-Habitat’s Seventh World Urban Forum (or WUF7). With nearly 25,000 participants (including mayors, civil servants, academics, students, NGOs and interested urban citizens) registered, it was the largest ‘WUF’ to date. And according to many veteran attendees, it was also the most enthusiastic… Read More Medellín: city of transition, city of hope

Copenhagen cycle culture through North American eyes…

Admittedly I’m North American – proudly from Seattle.  However, after 10 years living in Budapest, Malmö, Nairobi & Amsterdam and with a Swedish mother, I’ve become a modge-podge of sorts: European as much as anything, especially in my transportation habits. I haven’t driven in 10 years and anymore I’m scared to get behind the wheel.… Read More Copenhagen cycle culture through North American eyes…

Balinese dreaming: UN meetings on transport systems and real-life traffic problems

In April I traveled to Bali, Indonesia for the 7th Regional Environmentally Sustainable Transport (EST) Forum in Asia, organized by the UN Centre for Regional Development, and the Environmental Ministries of Japan and Indonesia. Bali, the Island of the Gods as it is known by the locals, is famous for its beaches, its surf, its rice fields,… Read More Balinese dreaming: UN meetings on transport systems and real-life traffic problems

Salzburg: rich in history, culture – and bicycles

I spent Easter weekend in the lovely city of Salzburg, Austria – Mozart’s birthplace, the setting for the Sound of Music and famous for its ancient Hohensalzburg Castle dominating over the city. With a four-day holiday weekend for Easter, it seemed like the perfect getaway. Besides, we were trying to escape the unseasonably cold spring in the Netherlands; however,… Read More Salzburg: rich in history, culture – and bicycles

Curitiba: visions of a better city & creative solutions to get there

Former mayor of Curitiba, Jaime Lerner is a city evangelist.  For Lerner, the city is not a problem; it’s a solution. An architect and urban planner by training, he brought many innovative strategies to his Brazilian hometown of Curitiba during his terms as mayor (1971–75, 1979–84 and 1989–92).  The now famous bus rapid transport system… Read More Curitiba: visions of a better city & creative solutions to get there