"Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city"
~ Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great American Cities
Cycling is a simple means that connects to a wide range of very complex problems and challenges of contemporary cities. It is intertwined with many aspects of urban life in all its richness and complexity.
Academic attention for this has been very limited. A more structured approach is needed to map these complex relations, understand best practices and foster reciprocal learning between research and practice.
The Urban Cycling Institute is part of the Center for Urban Studies of the University of Amsterdam.
1. Interdisciplinary research on cycling
Cycling is connected to a wide range of demographic, ethnic and social dynamics in our cities and regions. One example of this are possible reciprocal relations between cycling and processes of gentrification.
Cycling also has intricate links between processes on an individual level. The embodied practice of cycling and the way in which a cyclists interacts with others and his/her environment are examples of this.
We aim to bring sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, psychologists, engineers and urban planners together around these themes
2. Developing and integrating new methods
Cycling is currently often analyzed through traffic counts, transport modeling and questionnaires. It's unique characteristics require (and allow) us to go beyond these techniques. We aim to integrate data from smartphone applications, WiFi detection and link these to qualitative instruments such as participatory observations and in depth interviewing techniques.
This creates innovative insights in the space time behavior of individuals and its impact on out urban space.
3. Comparative urbanism
The Netherlands, and especially Amsterdam offer an ideal setting for our ambitions in which cycling is an integral part of mobility choices in our daily lives. There are many profound differences in this context that merit academic attention, but we expect most value from international comparative studies.
This also links to our aim to structure the exchange of knowledge about Dutch cycling in an international context (and vice versa).
The UCI members are members of the larger Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences of the University of Amsterdam and are therefore involved in a wide range of Bachelor's and Master's courses in Geography and Urban Planning. This setup allows a continuous bidirectional flow of knowledge and insights between these different courses and the cycling research. At the moment, UCI hosts one additional course in the form of a summer school.
Summer School 'Planning the Cycling City'
Explore urban cycling from a Dutch perspective, both historical and current, and gain a host of skills on how to develop and foster cycling cities.
The 3-week course at the University of Amsterdam includes seminars, guest speakers, fieldwork/excursions, small group discussion, a final public event and course projects. The content of the lectures will gradually shift from theory, to application, to reflection. All of this while experiencing the world's leading cycling city and nation all around you!
Speakers are world leading academics from a wide range of domains, and professionals working in local, regional, and national agencies/organizations/companies, advocacy organizations. These professionals provide a practical perspective on the issues discussed in class and engage in knowledge exchange with the students.
For more information and application please go to: www.uva.nl/summer-cycling-city
MOOC 'Unraveling the cycling city'
Obscured by its apparent simplicity, cycling is a complex phenomenon. Being an almost perfect human-machine hybrid, cycling is deeply rooted in a plethora of socio-technological systems. Around the world cycling is embraced as an important ingredient to tackle a wide variety of individual and societal challenges.
The Netherlands is often seen as an ideal living lab, because cycling has retained its significant share of mobility throughout the country. At the same time, there are large differences in developments across time and space, that allows for a better understanding of potential causal relations. This is also increasingly recognized by (inter)national top tier researchers from many different academic fields. They are uncovering reciprocal relations of cycling with spatial, ecological, historical, social, cultural, economic, biological and political structures.
Unraveling the Cycling City bundles the state-of-the-art knowledge that emerges from research and practice on the Dutch cycling system. As such, it provides an easily accessible platform to learn about important causes and effects, to open minds for the complexity of the entire system and to support group deliberations around the world.
We are available as speakers for events where Dutch cycling knowledge is required. For this we charge our standard 75 Euro hour rate
(see recent presentations at the bottom)
Dr. Marco te Brömmelstroet
Academic Director | Researcher
is Associate Professor in Urban Planning at the University of Amsterdam. He holds master degrees in Infrastructure Planning and Geographical Information Management, His teaching in Planning Bachelor and Master's programs centers around the (problematic) integration of land use and mobility and ways to improve this. His research is strongly intertwined with planning practice. He has done several studies on how to improve the use of knowledge in urban strategy making processes.
Prof. Dr. Ir. Luca Bertolini
His research and teaching focus on the integration of transport and land use planning, on methods for supporting the option-generation phase of the planning process, on concepts for coping with uncertainty in planning, and on ways of enhancing theory-practice interaction. Main publication topics include planning for sustainable accessibility in urban regions, conceptualizing urbanism in the network society, and the application of evolutionary theories to planning.
Dr. Anna Nikolaeva
is a postdoctoral researcher in the project “Smart Cycling Futures” at the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University. Her research revolves around the mobility-place nexus with a particular focus on spaces of transit, urban public space, sociology of architecture, mobile sociality and intra-EU mobility. In 2014 she defended the PhD thesis on Amsterdam Airport Schiphol as a multifunctional public space. Before she worked in the global comparative project on futures of mobility “Living in the Mobility Transition” at Royal Holloway, University of London.
PhD candidate | Teacher
specializes in understanding urban processes and design perspectives that prioritize the end-user and their communities. As a PhD researcher at the Urban Cycling Institute, she is interested in using the bicycle and its diverse user group as a lens to examine the dynamic social, emotional and experiential systems involved in contemporary urban planning, policy, and transport practices. She is also interested in how these systems (can) be learned by new bicycle user groups, transferred or tested in new/different mobility environments, or influence policy or the built form through experimentation or living labs. Meredith is also founding director of the Summer School Planning the Cycling City of the Institute.
Samuel Nel·lo Deakin
studies how different spatial and social environments shape cycling practices within the Dutch context and vice versa. With a background in Geography and Urban Transport, he combines urban design, planning and sociological perspectives into a multidisciplinary approach. His previous research includes a study of bikesharing in Quito (Ecuador) for his Bachelor dissertation at the University of Cambridge.
studies how ideas from urban design can guide the creation of healthy and attractive environments that encourage cycling as a practical and delightful mode of daily transport. His previous research at the University of Toronto includes a study of cycling patterns in the suburban communities of Toronto, Canada. His Masters project evaluated the effectiveness of bicycle mentorship programs in sustaining long-term transport behaviour change. George Liu is cross-appointed at the Department of the Built Environment at Eindhoven University of Technology.
Dr. Willem Boterman
is Assistant Professor of Human Geography and Urban Planning at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. He holds master degrees in political science and human geography. He obtained his PhD in 2012 (cum laude). His research has mainly focused on the interaction of demographic and class change, families, residential choice, housing and gentrification. His most recent work concentrates on issues of class and gender and social reproduction via school and residential practices. Also, he is engaged in studies on middle class disaffiliation, segregation and social and spatial polarisation.
Dr. Gerben Moerman
is research methodologist, who loves the sociological aspects of cycling. He is senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. His expertise lies in the field of qualitative research and mixed methods. Specifically, he researches qualitative interviewing (PhD in 2010) and different forms of qualitative analysis and interpretation.
He is specifically interested in the sociology and ethnomethodology of cycling. Or, to phrase it as a question: How do people interact on bikes? He was awarded UvA Lecturer of the year 2011, Probably because he used cycling as examples in his lectures on methods.
Dr. Olga Sezneva
Olga Sezneva is an urban sociologist, curator and a member of the Board of experts for European Prize for Urban Space. She approaches bicycle as a part of an urban assemblage of roads, technologies, money, users, experts and administrative regulations, and traces the emergent cultures, socialities and identities. Olga writes about micro-level social interactions that sustain urban cycling and get affected by it. She is also interested in public bike-share systems and sources of their global popularity.
is a student in the Urban Studies Research Master at the University of Amsterdam. He graduated from Utrecht University with an Honours Degree in Human Geography and Planning, where he focussed on urban renewal, transportation and mobility solutions. He has experience as a Junior Project Lead for transportation and traffic in the department of Development and Maintenance at a Dutch municipality. In the academic field he studies integrated transportation networks through urban design, planning and social perspectives. Here, sustainable development and cycling oriented development play a central role.
Dr. Lucas Harms
His research focuses on understanding social and spatial dynamics in bicycle use in the Randstad and its policy implications. His research centers on identifying and explaining changes in bicycle use. Which changes occur in bicycle use in the Netherlands, how do they differentiate between spatial and population characteristics, what are the implications for policy measures aimed at increasing bicycle use in the Randstad, and how are these policy measures to be valued in terms of social cost benefit analyses? He now works for Kennisinstituut voor Mobiliteitsbeleid (KiM) of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment.
Dr. Ir. Roland Kager
works on the interactions between the bicycle and the transit system. He researches why and how combined use of both modes leads to distinctive transport phenomena. Applications exist on how such combined availability leads to cross-overs for both modes and on land-use, in particular how both modes seem to have strong but selective relationships with urbanisation and agglomeration economies. He now works for Studio Bereikbaar.
MSc candidate, research assistant
is visiting student and research assistant at the Urban Cycling Institute and MSc candidate at the Department of Spatial Planning at the Vienna University of Technology, where she also received her Bachelors degree. In her studies she focused on EU policy making in planning and the transition and use of public spaces under changing modes of transportation. She has working experience in European territorial development and policy making at ESPON. In her master thesis she researches policy learning through study tours on sustainable urban mobility. Helena is especially interested in organizational learning processes of public institutions and how this influences urban policies.
Research Master candidate, research intern
is a student within the Urban Studies Research Masters program at the University of Amsterdam. His professional background is in government affairs, public policy, and non-profits. The explosive rise of bikeshare companies in the US was the catalyst for Casey’s pivot toward active transportation planning. He is specifically interested in the merging and coordination of public and private interests in this realm. Casey has a B.S. from the University of Oregon in Environmental Studies with a minor in Planning, Public Policy & Management.
Projects and output
Ongoing research of the Urban Cycling Institute
Cycling as everyday mobility
Lessons for China [Luca Bertolini]
RUIMTEVOLK: Expeditie Mobiliteit [Roland Kager: Dutch]
Four myths about Dutch Cycling
Keynote at Cycling Scotland conference [Marco te Brömmelstroet]
Smart mobility of gewoon op de fiets?
KNAG lezing 2015 [Marco te Brömmelstroet: Dutch]