1st Edition

Street Fights in Copenhagen Bicycle and Car Politics in a Green Mobility City

    214 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    With 29 percent of all trips made by bicycle, Copenhagen is considered a model of green transport. This book considers the underlying political conditions that enabled cycling to appeal to such a wide range of citizens in Copenhagen and asks how this can be replicated elsewhere.

    Despite Copenhagen’s global reputation, its success has been a result of a long political struggle and is far from completely secure. Car use in Denmark is increasing, including in Copenhagen's suburbs, and new developments in Copenhagen include more parking for cars. There is a political tension in Copenhagen over the spaces for cycling, the car, and public transit. In considering examples of backlashes and conflicts over street space in Copenhagen, this book argues that the kinds of debates happening in Copenhagen are very similar to the debates regularly occurring in cities throughout the world. This makes Copenhagen more, not less, comparable to many cities around the world, including cities in the United States.

    This book will appeal to upper-level undergraduates and graduates in urban geography, city planning, transportation, environmental studies, as well as transportation advocates, urban policy-makers, and anyone concerned about climate change and looking to identify paths forward in their own cities and localities.

    Introduction: Why Copenhagen 

    1. Copenhagen: Bicycle City  

    2. A Short History of Cycling and Car Politics in Copenhagen  

    3. "Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark!" The Plateauing of Cycling and the Rise in Car Ownership in Copenhagen 

    4. The Politics of Mobility in Copenhagen 

    5. How Many Cars in the City? The Copenhagen Toll Ring Debate 

    6. Cycling Policy is Parking Policy: The Politics of Car Parking in Copenhagen 

    7. From the Harbor Tunnel to the Metro Ring, What Kind of City? 

    Conclusion: Towards a Politics of Hope and the Green Mobility City


    Jason Henderson is Professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at San Francisco State University, USA.

    Natalie Marie Gulsrud is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

    "This book is an incredibly important addition to the global narrative about improving cities. With this thorough academic treatment of data and analysis the conclusion is clear. A shining vision of future transport in cities everywhere is revealed. Not only is it attainable, but it is a thing of beauty." Mikael Colville-Andersen, urban design expert

    "In this highly interesting and necessary book the authors illustrate the street fight in the presumably perfect cycling city of Copenhagen. Through thorough empirical investigation they argue that Copenhagen can be used as a model for expanding urban cycling not least because of the ideologically political street fights between cars and cycles, identical to other cities around the world. This book, very convincingly, shows the necessary conflictual pathway to thinking about better urban futures."Malene Freudendal-Pedersen, Professor in Urban Planning, Roskilde University, Denmark

    "In this book Jason Henderson and Natalie Marie Gulsrud have done the world’s cities a big favor. They analyze how Copenhagen has made itself bikeable and walkable, not just driveable, and has tempted drivers out of their cars onto bicycles, public transport, or their own two feet. They also explain the politics that produced this result, and show how other cities can follow Copenhagen’s wise lead."Donald Shoup, Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Urban Planning, UCLA, USA

    "Street Fights in Copenhagen is a detailed and enormously useful analysis of a place with a mythology that obscures our understanding of its comparative value, and it will be of substantial interest to scholars of urban geography, transportation and land use planning, public policy, and critical mobility studies. It is also a full-throated rallying cry for a more redistributive politics of sustainable urban mobility, and the crucial role of cycling as part of such an agenda."  — John G. Stehlin, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability, UNC-Greensboro, USA, in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers