Finding Balance

“But, as with everything, we need balance. As we rejoice with the great stories of new restaurants and fun events in our cities, let’s remember that our attentions also need to focus on the complexities and intricacies of our cities, some of which are difficult to digest. Issues of poverty, equity, transportation, jobs, community health and diversity continue to be overshadowed by the bright lights of “progress” in our city centers.”


If we love our urban revitalizations, if we are excited to see the new brewery or coffee shop that opens near us, let’s also pay attention to the important aspects of our cities that might not be so colorful, but that might impact us all. Let’s pay attention to the things we claim to pay attention to.

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Copenhagen Wasn’t Always The Most People Friendly City In The World

Copenhagen Mastermind Jan Gehl Isn’t Sold on ‘Smart’ Cities

 APR 30, 2018

“Architect and planner Jan Gehl looks back on how he helped transform Copenhagen into one of the world’s most livable cities and talks about how people can reclaim the streets.”

It’s about phases.

“…Gehl discusses his observations and philosophies of how cities can become as bike-friendly, people-friendly, and climate-friendly as Copenhagen famously is.:

A cyclist rides past autumn-colored ivy climbing the wall of a building in downtown Copenhagen November 2, 2010. REUTERS/Bob Strong (DENMARK – Tags: ENVIRONMENT TRANSPORT SOCIETY) – GM1E6B21TQG01

Phases in Copenhagen-it starts with walking:

“I would say that the public space in Copenhagen progressed in phases. The first phase was to make it possible to walk. That was the period of the pedestrian street, the “Fußgängerstraße,” which lasted from 1960 to 1980. The next period, from 1980 to 2000, was the period focused on sitting and staying. It was the time when all these squares were freed of parking and all the pavement cafés started popping up—the expansion of the cappuccino culture. That coincided with having more leisure time—you are not just rushing out to work or to shop. This culture has been in the Mediterranean countries all the time, but after the 1980s and ‘90s, it really spread worldwide. Next is phase three. That is not about walking or sitting, but being active. It is about places for roller skating or running or bicycling or swimming in the harbor.”

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Cargo Bikes Are More Efficient than Trucks

Cargo bikes are so much more practical compared to trucks burning fuel, increased emissions, wasted time, and taking up space on streets. Delivery trucks are driving empty up to 50% of the time.

Sainsbury’s – back in the saddle after 60 years

“Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains, has begun a cargo bike pilot scheme. A fleet of five Sainsbury’s-branded e-cargo bikes based at a store in Streatham, South London, will deliver online orders of groceries to customers within a three mile (5km) radius.”


Sainsbury’s trial there new electric delivery bike in Streatham, London. The Hercules e-cargo bikes have a box behind the rider for chilled and frozen groceries. Photo credit:

“The aim is to establish whether or not deliveries by cargo bike are more efficient than traditional delivery vans in dense urban areas. Around 100 orders are being delivered daily during the trial; customers can choose a one hour delivery time slot. Routing software will determine which orders are sent by cargo bike and which will go by delivery van.”

Sainsbury’s delivery boy Harry, who worked at the Enfield store in North London. This picture was taken somewhere in the period between 1913 and 1915. Photo credit: Sainsbury”s Archive

“Our data shows that a single e-cargobike can deliver as many groceries in an eight hour shift as a van. There are many factors influencing this happy finding, not least the terrible trouble van drivers have with parking in London. It’s really difficult to park and when they do, they generally can’t park close to customers’ houses, so they end up doing a lot of walking backwards and forwards carrying boxes. Over a shift our cargo bikes are covering 12.3mph* on average, versus 3.4mph* for the van”.  

*12.3mph = 19.8km/h and 3.4mph = 5.5km/h

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