Katie Sharp

MA International Planning and Sustainable Development

Sustainable Cities: How can best cycling practices in Copenhagen be used to improve New York’s cycling infrastructure and policy?

The growth in cities and other urban areas, have led to urbanisation and development that is putting extreme pressure on the environment in the form of climate change and other issues. To deal with these issues, governments and other stakeholders have sought to improve the future of cities and people’s livelihoods by developing sustainably. Sustainability involves three domains: economic, environmental and social. These three domains should be balanced and interlinked with one another, however in certain situations economic development has taken priority. This study looks at the importance of active transport as a way to achieve sustainable development, particularly cycling. The implementation of cycling policies and infrastructure has been met with a range of successes. Copenhagen has been labelled as the worlds best cycling city, which is used in this study to show how cities can be successful in active transport. New York has seen some development in cycling initiatives, but has faced criticism and shown teething problems. These problems include safety issues, lack of appropriate infrastructure and facilities, inequality, poor education and training, and negative perception of cyclists and cycling. It is suggested that New York can learn from Copenhagen’s success story. Nevertheless, Copenhagen is a much smaller city in comparison to the mega city New York. The thesis explores how realistic would it be for the best practices to be scaled up for the larger scale context.

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