I started my thesis exploration with a design challenge: how might we decrease the use of cars within a city by encouraging individuals to walk and bike more to get from point A to point B? My inspiration comes from ideas put forth by Jane Jacobs, the celebrated urban activist who promoted the notion that city planning should be based around citizen participation. My thesis explores how an approach grounded in community building can benefit our daily lives.
Transforming urban dynamics and drawing on social networks within the cycling community calls attention to the act of cycling as part of a larger system. The goal of connecting riders while in route is ultimately to empower more cyclists to move throughout their cities. Currently, there are myriad organizations and events that promote a community of cycling. Groups like the SF Bike Coalition and Critical Mass work to create a dialogue around the act of cycling. However, when it comes to interaction while in the saddle, there are few moments in which cyclists have the opportunity to acknowledge one another and celebrate their act of cycling on a regular basis.
By implementing a small shift in the way we perceive the culture and act of moving through our cities, we can build a community that fully embraces the notion that cyclists are part of a larger unit working together. And the more individuals who join the cause, the greater positive impact we have our bodies, our cities, and our environment.