Cities as the places where people’s everyday life happened. After World War II, as the recovering of the economic growth, a sharp increasing of cities redevelopment occurred. For the strategy of urban planning, people’s everyday life high dependence on the vehicle. It is subsequently cause some problems. Firstly, people spend more time traveling on the road or for the traffic congestion. Moreover, more car means more energy consumption and pollution. Under the background of energy crisis, it is really uneasy to witness a huge number of cars are consuming the fossil energy and exhausting waste gas. Thirdly, vehicle as the primary transport for people’s everyday life may cause people’s healthy problem. The man who lack of physical exercise will lead to some diseases. Due to all these problems, government and social institutions engage in solving these problems by finding some valid urban strategies. New urbanism is one of the effective solutions. Just like Lund (2003) says, the theme of new urbanism is provide a sustainable movement to link the neighborhoods, city center, and other functional areas. Walkability, diversity, connectivity, sustainability and quality are the key issues of the new urbanism.
For the sustainable movement in urban design, it is normally divided into three part, cycling, pedestrian and public transport (Tolley, 1990). Especially for pedestrian and bicycle traffic, they use less resources and pollute the environment much less then any other form of transport. Moreover, for the social activities, cycling and pedestrian are more natural way for people’s communication. For the speed of cars, people will focus on the road condition rather then what happened nearby the road. The transform network built for pedestrian and cycling could be more appropriate in scale. When working and bicycling are a natural part of the daily pattern of activity, there is positive spin-off for the life quality and well being of the individual, and even greater benefits to society (Hrushowy, 2009). Last but not least, a vital element in overall health policy should be for walking and cycling in cities to be an obvious option. Benefits are substantial for increasing life quality and reducing health-care costs (Gehl, 2010).
For the case study, I pick the very famous bicycle city, Copenhagen. In Copenhagen, 37% peoples choose bicycle as their transport to go to work or school. You could be strange that the climate in Denmark is not very suitable for cycling because of the low temperature and strong wind. But actually the government of Copenhagen advocates a whole-hearted bicycle policy. As Gehl (2010) said, in Copenhagen, a close-knit network for cycling comprising all parts of the city has gradually been established. At a appropriate distances, a safe and pleasant cycling network has been built to link every place in the city. Reasonably wide cycling paths and good quality of cycling nodes were provided for the citizen. Moreover, at a long distances, bicycle traffic could be automatically integrated into an overall transport strategy. It is possible to take bicycles on the train,subway and by taxi, then travel can be combined over long distances.
In conclusion, the sustainable movement as a key element to create a green and sustainable city in urban design. It could advocate the people to join in the low-carbon lifestyle and benefit for both environment and society. However, we should also consider about the limitations. Not only the climate, topography, size of the cities, but also the culture, economic and social issues (Alves and Ramalho, 2011). They are not isolated, but integrated as whole (like Copenhagen). As a designer, all the situation of the cities should be taken into considerate.
Alves, B. & Ramalho, L. (2011) ‘Principles for the Implementation of a Pedestrian Plan in Medium Size Cities, review of urban& regional development studies’, RURDS, 23 (1), 23-47.
Gehl, J. (2010) Cities for People. London:Island Express.
Hrushowy, N. (2009) Pedestrian Networks in Two Traditional Urban Neighborhoods, Copenhagen, Denmark: a case study of the relationship between spatial and social networks. VDM Verlag.
Lund, H. (2003) ‘Testing the Claims of New Urbanism, Local Access, Pedestrian Travel and Neighboring Behaviors’, APL Journal, 69(4), 414-431.
Tolley, R. S. (1990) The Greening of Urban Transport: Planning for Waling and Cycling in Westen Cities. London:Belhaven Press.