It is widely known the Copenhagen is one of the most bike friendly cities in the world. This was one of the themes of our first day of the I-Sustain trip to Copenhagen. We were joined by two planners from Copenhagenize, an international firm that helps advance cycling and bike infrastructure. Our group of 20 plus Washingtonians took a crash course in riding our bikes on some of the most comprehensive bike infrastructure in the world. We learned that over 50% of Copenhagen’s commute is by bike. Rush hour? Consider hundreds of bikes queued up over several hundred feet at a light. What’s the formula? Making sure that routes are protected, safe, and reliable. That’s achieved through signage, articulated pathways, and a general respect for cyclists on the road.
After lunch in Refshaløen (a neighborhood in development on the north side of Copenhagen), we went to Amager Bakke, Copenhagen’s new Waste to Energy Plant. The state of the art facility is efficient and environmentally friendly, and features not only a climbing wall on an external face, but in the winter, it will feature a ski run complete with a chair lift to the top. This type of multi-use function is found everywhere so far in Copenhagen, and is something that I appreciate.
We then headed north to the offices of COBE Architecture, and we learned about their work to complete the master plan for a new neighborhood in a former harbor in Copenhagen and their effort to rehabilitate a former grain elevator into residences, retail, and a restaurant on the top floor. Eating dinner at that restaurant, Silo, afforded us an opportunity to look out in all directions and see that change, even in a centuries old city is possible, welcomed, and accepted.