Residents and visitors to this Dutch neighborhood could share a pool of cars and bikes

bike

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Johnny Wood, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • A new city center development in the Netherlands could go nearly car-free.
  • Residents in this district will share a pool of cars and bicycles. There will be 3 private car parking spaces planned for every 10 houses.
  • More cyclists can mean a healthier population, fewer long-term rider casualties and less air pollution, studies show.

One Netherlands city is rethinking urban living, moving from private cars parked out front individual homes to a community built for pedestrians and two-wheeled travel.

The nearly car-free neighbourhood is planned for Utrecht and will have little place – or space – for privately owned vehicles.

Called Merwede, the proposed development will transform an industrial area of the city centre into a model of sustainable living, where walls and courtyards come alive with greenery and solar panels cover rooftops.

 

Everything residents need will be available within walking distance, or reachable by bicycle along a network of cycle routes linking different parts of the district with the city centre.

The area will have good public transport links, allowing residents to travel long distances and connect with other parts of the country and beyond.

cyclists cycle cycling bikes bicycles riding green friend Eco Holland Netherlands Amsterdam town planning development sustainable development environment renewable solar energy change transition friendly environment carbon footprint carbon emissions reduction change natural climate change global warming air pollution clean energy power renewables plastic plastics Cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology
Emergency vehicles will have access to Merwede’s centre, but not cars.
Image: marco.booekman

Away from Merwede’s heart, garage parking will be available for private vehicles, but there will only be about three spaces for every 10 households, 300 of which will be for shared cars.

Emergency services will be able to access the streets but the district’s heart will be a no-go zone for cars.

What’s the World Economic Forum doing about the future of cities?

Cities represent humanity’s greatest achievements – and greatest challenges. From inequality to air pollution, poorly designed cities are feeling the strain as 68% of humanity is predicted to live in urban areas by 2050.

The World Economic Forum supports a number of projects designed to make cities cleaner, greener and more inclusive.

These include hosting the Global Future Council on Cities and Urbanization, which gathers bright ideas from around the world to inspire city leaders, and running the Future of Urban Development and Services initiative. The latter focuses on how themes such as the circular economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be harnessed to create better cities. To shed light on the housing crisis, the Forum has produced the report Making Affordable Housing a Reality in Cities.

Boosting public health, safety
Cycling can lead to a number of public health benefits, research shows. In addition to reducing pollution, cycling regularly helps to reduce stress and lower the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and strokes.

Bike-friendly communities can also increase safety for cyclists. An OECD Cycle Safety report found higher levels of awareness in places with large numbers of bike users, cycle paths and supporting infrastructure.

Investing in infrastructure
Still, without investment in infrastructure, the “safety in numbers” idea can vanish. Both drivers and cyclists must adapt to a surge in bike users, the OECD report found, or cycling fatalities will increase with the number of cyclists.

Safety levels differ from country to country and from city to city. The Global Bicycle Cities Index 2019 highlights the most cycle-friendly cities. European centres like Utrecht, Munster in Germany and Antwerp in Belgium, lead the way by building dedicated bike infrastructure, creating bike-sharing schemes and holding no-car days.

cyclists cycle cycling bikes bicycles riding green friend Eco Holland Netherlands Amsterdam town planning development sustainable development environment renewable solar energy change transition friendly environment carbon footprint carbon emissions reduction change natural climate change global warming air pollution clean energy power renewables plastic plastics Cities smart urban urbanization development growth growing inclsuive inclusivity poverty tech technology
Utrecht tops the list of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities.
Image: Global Bicycle Cities Index 2019

Merwede’s cyclists will have an advantage as Utrecht is already a cyclist’s haven. Dedicated routes, run in, out, and around the city, and are widely used. About 60% of visitors to the city centre get there by bike and the city is home to the world’s largest bicycle parking garage.

If the proposal goes through, Merwede won’t be the only city built with cycling in mind. Other cities, such as Amsterdam, have also invested in cycling infrastructure to encourage people to cycle.

With the right planning, more cycle-friendly cities can lead to healthier people, fewer rider casualties and improved air quality, changes that are good for riders, their communities and the environment.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “CO2 is not the problem, it is the symptom”, the pilots who crossed the world using solar energy cry out from Davos

Public opinion misled by the Commission on air transport safety

Sea urchins are overwhelming parts of the ocean. Could turning them into sushi be the solution?

Help African farmers cope with climate change threats, UN food agency urges

Consumers to be better protected against misleading and unfair practices

A Sting Exclusive: “Global Climate: Our Common Responsibility”, S&P MEP Miriam Dalli underlines from Brussels

UPDATED: Thousands flee fighting around Libyan capital as Guterres condemns escalation, urges ‘immediate halt’ to all military operations

Criminals thrive on data abundance – here’s how we’ll catch them

Eurozone has practically entered a deflation trap

Eurozone banks are unable to support real economy’s dawning growth

Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage, and ‘must be protected’, says UN Forum

MEPs propose measures to combat mobbing and sexual harassment

Second Ebola death confirmed in Uganda as UN health agency mulls global emergency call

Amazon on fire: the interference in global health

Why sustainable packaging is good for profits as well as the planet

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

UNESCO lists wrestling, reggae and raiho-shin rituals as global treasures to be preserved

What washing your hands can teach you about global change

The eight types of AI you should know about

Why practicing medicine privately at home is still a (difficult) option?

UN-backed intercultural dialogue forum urged to keep working to ‘bridge gap between the like-minded’

20 years on from landmark Mine Ban Treaty, dangers on the rise to life and limb

2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health 21-23 February 2017 in Sri Lanka

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

The Red Cross’s health chief explains how business must respond to coronavirus

‘Everyone must be on board’ for peace in Central African Republic: UN’s Lacroix

How to fight back against misinformation and polarization

Ethiopia is Africa’s fastest-growing economy

Women outliving men ‘everywhere’, new UN health agency statistics report shows

Brexit: No deal without marginalizing the hard Tory Eurosceptic MPs

Why did Cameron gain absolute majority? What will he do now? Will he vote ‘yes’ in Britain’s in – out EU referendum?

UN ‘stands ready’ to support Haiti after earthquake hits northern coast – Guterres

Siemens-Alstom merger: Can Germany and France lobby to circumvent EC’s rejection, against EU consumers’ interests?

Joint EU-U.S. statement following the EU-U.S. Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

Resettlement needs set to rise to 1.4 million people in 2019, UN refugee agency reports

Over 1 million health consultations provided in Yemen in 2019: UN migration agency

UN chief welcomes South Sudan’s Unity government, lauds parties for ‘significant achievement’

This Norwegian cruise line plans to power its ships with rotting fish

Migration crisis, a human crisis after all

UN civil society conference to focus on sustainable solutions for challenges of urban life

More taxpayers’ money for the banks

The world’s largest bus system is starting to go electric

Why we need a moderate approach to moderating online content

6 ways to ensure AI and new tech works for – not against – humanity

A Sting Exclusive: “The Chinese economy is steady and moving in the right direction”, Ambassador Yang of the Chinese Mission to EU underscores from Brussels

‘Multiplicity’ of rights violations in Ukraine as fifth winter of conflict bites

UN chief welcomes new Government in Lebanon, after eight-month impasse

Ukraine pays the price for lying between Russia and the EU

Climate change: Parliament’s blueprint for long-term CO2 cuts

EU Ombudsman must continue push for more transparency in Council and Commission

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

The big challenge of leadership and entrepreneurship in Europe

What you need to know about the Sustainable Development Impact Summit

Commission: New proposal for centrally managed bank resolution

Budgetary Control Committee asks for stronger measures to protect EU spending

A Sting Exclusive: “There can be no global deal on emissions without China and the USA”, Conservative MEP Ian Duncan stresses from Brussels

Cohesion Policy: involving citizens to ensure better results

Tackling ‘deeply worrying’ global rise in anti-Semitism is a job for all societies everywhere, says UN chief

Green economy ‘not to be feared, but an opportunity to be embraced’ says UN chief as COP25 gets underway

A Sting Exclusive: “eHealth can change many dimensions of how the healthcare area functions”, Polish MEP Michal Boni underscores from Brussels

More Stings?

Comments

  1. The world is leaning towards healthier living in general so I am not surprised if other major cities take a look at what the Netherlands are doing to see if this will work in their cities as well. It seems like a great idea to me. Antonio

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s