It’s no surprise that a place dubbed ‘The World’s Cycling City’ is located in the Netherlands. Dutch cities are renowned for their cycle-friendly infrastructure (as well as their bike-favourable topography). But Groningen – situated in the north of the country – boasts some exceptionally impressive cycling stats. The ancient university town is home to 190,000 people, yet there are around 300,000 bicycles and only 75,000 cars in the city. Groningen has the highest mode share of bicycle users in the world, with fifty percent of all journeys being made by bike. The city also boasts one of the world’s largest bicycle parking facilities*, with space for 10,000 bikes!
This fifteen minute documentary showcases Groningen’s widespread cycling culture and examines the planning decisions and design elements that enabled the city to become the bicycle nirvana that it is today. Featuring interviews with urban planning professionals as well as local residents, the film provides a valuable insight into how cities can promote biking as a preferred mode of transportation. The documentary acknowledges both the positive and negative aspects of a bicycle-oriented city and also explains how the town overcame initial resistance in the 1970s. It also reveals some surprising counter-effects of bike-first planning, including much quieter urban places. Imagine a city without the constant hum of traffic…
*Incidentally, the world’s biggest cycle parking facility is proposed in another Dutch city; Utrecht. Designed to store 12,500 bikes, it is due for completion in 2016. A fly-through of the proposed scheme can be found here.
Lead image – screenshot via STREETFILMS on VimeoPublished in