Since I have study in UK, I am interesting in the lifestyle in European cities, especially the sustainable movement aspect, which is different from China, my hometown. Since the consideration about environmental issue, sustainable movement as a popular promotion in urban design, has a big effect in city life. Sustainable movement in urban design aspect may consider the transport system, and most of the effect on our everyday life is the way for commuting. How people and vehicles flow? What is the experience about changing lifestyle become sustainable? Why does movement matter? In the case of Copenhagen, I want to show that how the sustainable movement influence our everyday life.


I read some words about movement in a book which talk about urban design, it may help us understand what movement concern about. Shaping cities rely on buildings as well as movement. So Movement in urban design includes transportation measures, the distribution of services and the daily movements of individuals around their communities, and the way of commuting. (Wall and Waterman, 2010) Now, I concern about how to make movement sustainable.


First, I want to introduce Jan Gehl and Copenhagen. Jan Gehl is a Danish architect who have great effect in the planning aspect of Copenhagen, especially public space and public life. In his research, he focus on the experience about pedestrian and life in public space, like what activities take place, how the life quality in public space and the method improve pedestrian experience. (Gehl, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, 1998)


In Mega’s study, with the method of gave back the street life to pedestrians, Copenhagen walked in the forefront of the times during 1960s. “Pedestrianization continued over a period of 30 years and the down-town parking policy aimed to remove 2-3 percent of parking spaces each year  “(Mega, 1996). By improving the traffic system, the city had a new network for bicycling, and the city center was regenerated. Cars were no longer the main transport tool for people.


In order to reach the goal of more sustainability and more livability in Copenhagen, bicycling have been promoted. It is aim to give more space back to the public. The life style in Copenhagen have changed. These changings combined sustainable solutions with growth and a high quality of life.


Since the green routes built in 1930s for walking and cycling in Copenhagen, cycling have become a lifestyle in this city. There are some statistics from Copenhagen bicycle account show that people would like to choose bicycle to travel around the city in 2014. Fully 45% of all journeys to places of work or education in Copenhagen are made by bicycle. And the number of bicycles that enter or leave the inner city doubled in contrast to 1990s. (Copenhagen city of cyclists, 2014)


Source from: Copenhagen city of cyclists the bicycle account 2014


In a new study of cyclists in Copenhagen, Pedersen thought that cyclists as part of the city’s organism, but it still has a big conflict between cars and cyclists in the city. “There is a large emphasis on planning for and the politics of cyclists in Copenhagen, but the car has a strong grip on modern lives. When Copenhagen city planners and politicians’ lives are based on the car, and it is the most important form of everyday mobility for them, this reinforces the importance of the car to city planning” (Freudendal-Pedersen, 2015). “When you have kids you need a car” (Freudendal-Pedersen, 2015). Even though cycling is a sustainable way, it is not fully satisfy people’s need.


In his other research about mobilities spaces in Copenhagen, Pedersen reiterated his views. “I argue that this is in fact not the case. Rather the specific project identities that are nurtured by Copenhagen’s cycling community inhibit it from advocating publicly or aggressively for a vision of the common good that gives cyclists greater and more protected access to the city’s mobility spaces” (Freudendal-Pedersen, 2015). The way to attempt more people accept riding bikes is to create a common good. It argues that cyclists needs more urban space.


In order to bridge the gap between sustainable planning policy and everyday life, Greed pointed out that greater emphasis must be given to user needs and the constraints of everyday life. Users, the built environment and transportation impact each other. White the level of sustainability in policy is too high, it is not cater for everyday life. What the citizens need in urban space is walkable, and easily access to public transport. And the need about the transport system should pay attention to the details. (Greed, 2011)


Therefore, we can draw a conclusion in the case of Copenhagen. The commuting choice for people in everyday is narrative. When we promote to reduce cars, changing the commuting way to cycling or public transport system to green city, the public need their space to organize their activities. On the other hand, the planning of sustainable movement need good user experience, to cater for most of people’s everyday life. It is an interaction.



Gehl, j. , Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. (1998). Public Spaces, Public Life submitted by Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. Available at:


City of Copenhagen The Technical and Environmental Administration. Copenhagen city of cyclists the bicycle account 2014. Available at:


Freudendal-Pedersen, M. (2015). Whose Commons are Mobilities Spaces? – The Case of Copenhagen’s Cyclists. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, [online] 14(2), pp.598-621. Available at:


Freudendal-Pedersen, M. (2015). Cyclists as Part of the City’s Organism: Structural Stories on Cycling in Copenhagen. City & Society, 27(1), pp.30-50.


Gehl, j. , Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. (1998). Public Spaces, Public Life submitted by Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen. Available at:


Greed, C. (2011). Planning for sustainable urban areas or everyday life and inclusion. Proceedings of the ICE – Urban Design and Planning, 164(2), pp.107-119.


Mega, V. (1996). Our city, our future: towards sustainable development in European cities. Environment and Urbanization, 8(1), pp.133-154.


Wall, E. and Waterman, T. (2010). Urban design. Lausanne: AVA Publishing SA.