Bicycle City Influences

Bicycle City doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Our influences include:

We have also been influenced by the many places we have visited, including:

Paolo Soleri

Born in 1919 in Turin, Italy, Soleri founded the Arcosanti community in 1970 north of Phoenix, Arizona. Soleri studied architecture at Politecnico di Torino and studied in fellowship with Frank Lloyd Wright. He is a noted ceramic artist and author, and he is also a lecturer at the Arizona State University College of Architecture.

Jane Jacobs

An urban activist, Jacobs is known for her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, which offers a critique of American urban renewal policy. As an activist, Jacobs has been responsible for blocking projects which she felt would destroy neighborhoods. Jacobs died in 2006, and in 2007, the Rockefeller Foundation announced the Jane Jacobs Medal, awarded to those who make significant contributions to urban design.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Wright was a champion for organic architecture, that which is built to exist in unison with its surroundings. A designer of more than 500 completed projects, Wright is well-known for buildings such as Fallingwater, the Robie House and the Guggenheim Museum. Wright passed away in 1959, but was honored in 1991 as the greatest American architect of all time by the American Institute of Architects.

John Robbins

Robbins founded the organization EarthSave, which promotes food choices that avoid animal cruelty and are environmentally-sound. Robbins has written extensively about the connections agriculture and environment have on health.

Scott Martin

In 1992, Martin authored the article Cycle City 2000 for Bicycling magazine. Its publication helped to solidify our early ideas for Bicycle City, which were presented during the spring of 1992 to the American Graduate School of International Management – Thunderbird. Cycle City 2000 offers a dream-like future scenario, taking the reader 8 years ahead to the year 2000 and asks them to imagine commuting to work on a bicycle via a tube system that helps propel each bicycle to regular highway speeds with minimal effort.

John Naisbitt

Naisbitt wrote High-Tech, High-Touch: Technology and Our Search for Meaning in 1999, a book that has greatly influenced our goals for the Bicycle City communities. He discusses how increasing technology (high-tech) is decreasing human contact and ideals of community (high-touch), and seeks to strike a balance between the two, using the great benefits of technology to provide a greater sense of self and community.

Richard Register

The founder and president of Ecocity Builders and founding president of Urban Ecology, Register is a world-renowned speaker, theorist and author on ecological planning and design. He has authored three books on ecocity planning and has spoken at four United Nations’ environmental conferences. Register is also a Bicycle City advisor.

Andrès Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk

In 1980, the husband-and-wife team founded Duany Plater Zyberk & Company in 1980 in Miami, Florida, and quickly became a national leader in the movement of new urbanism. DPZ has designed more than 300 new and existing communities. Duany also helped to co-found Congress for the New Urbanism and has helped write two books on urban planning.  Bicycle City is being planned to utilize many New Urbanist principles.

Maria Montessori

Montessori is known for developing the Montessori method of education, which is used today in public and private schools around the world. Montessori believed that children learn spontaneously, and fostered this approach in her first school in 1907. She also believed that children are best taught in three-year age groups and in environments that are self-directed, that allow them to make decisions and that are both stimulating and motivating.

Jane Goodall

Goodall is famous for her extensive work with chimpanzees, and she is also a committed environmentalist, working to protect tropical forests and chimpanzee habitats. As an animal activist, she is the former president of Advocates for Animals.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam is considered the bicycle capital of the world for its heavy ridership and incredible city commitment to cycling. The city is home to a bicycle garage that can park 10,000 bikes, making it easier for the 40% of Amsterdam residents who commute to work via bicycle.

Arcosanti, Arizona

Arcosanti was born out of Soleri’s principle of arcology, which is architecture existing in harmony with ecology. Located about 70 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona, Arcosanti considers itself to be an alternative to urban sprawl, as well as an urban laboratory for future design. When completed, Arcosanti will be home to 5,000 people and its buildings will occupy just 25 acres of its 4,060 acre preserve.

Catalina Island, California

Catalina Island is found 22 miles from the coast of Long Beach and is home to nearly 4,000 residents. Most of the island is car-free and most travel via golf cart, though some residents own cars with special permits.

Hydra Island, Greece

Hydra Island has no modern development—no land traffic, no industrial pollution, and no large concrete buildings. Hydra Island boasts about its safety, peace and quiet, unique 18th century architecture, plethora of cafes, and sense of freedom.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Motor vehicles are prohibited from this resort island in Northern Michigan and most travel is done on foot or by carriage. The island is approximately four square miles in size and is an extremely popular summer destination for vacationers.

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt is a car-free resort town that only allows electric-powered cars, bikes, and horse- and sleigh-drawn carriages on its roads. The streets are reserved for residents and visitors to shop, dine, and enjoy the town without traffic safety concerns.

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Why Bicycle City?

Bicycle City - Alleviation of TrafficOur lifestyles are polluting the earth as at rate that cannot continue unchecked.

Scientists no longer argue about whether the Earth is getting warmer as a result of CO2 emissions; the debate now is the pace of global climate change. Continued depletion of the Earth’s non-renewable energy resources accelerates the pace. In the United States, motorized vehicles consume 16% of all energy used and contribute 33% of CO2 emissions into the air. They also contribute to noise and water pollution and add to landfill. (Source: Bikes at Work: Some Facts on Automobiles and the Environment) Bicycle City - Alleviation of Sprawl

In the United States, buildings — commercial and residential — account for 39% of energy use and 38% of CO2 emissions. Building materials and methods exist that will change those numbers. Today, consumers want a home that is designed with the surrounding land and community in mind. By adopting green building strategies, and vastly decreasing daily use of automobiles, we can make a measurable difference in energy consumption and also in the health of the planet. (Source: EPA: Why Build Green)

For the sake of physical and financial health, lifestyle changes are needed.

Bicycle City - Active LifestyleIn the United States, obesity and physical inactivity are shortening life spans and are listed among the leading causes of preventable death. The design of our cities and communities, which focuses more on cars than on people, often precludes the opportunity to get exercise by walking or biking from home to school, work, shopping, etc. In just one generation, the number of children who walk to school has declined by 70%. During that time childhood obesity has tripled. (Source: Bikes Belong: Fast Facts) Bicycle City - Reduce Fuel Consumption

From a financial perspective, the average U.S. family spends $7,830 ($9,990 if it’s an SUV) per year to drive 15,000 miles. With real median household income at $48,200, that’s 16% of annual income spent on loan or lease payments, insurance payments, maintenance fees, registration, taxes and fuel. The rising cost of fuel impacts those numbers daily. In 2006, 38% of American homes had two vehicles and another 20 % had three or more. It costs roughly $120 a year to maintain a bike. (Sources: US Census News Bureau: Household Income Rises, Poverty Rate Declines, Number of Uninsured Up; AAA Newsroom: Crashes vs. Congestion - What's the Cost to Society?; US Census Bureau American Fact Finder)

Is there a market? Yes

There are people who don’t want to spend 66 minutes, per day, on average, sitting in a car, traveling from one place to another – work, school, shopping - just about everywhere. A March 2008 poll by Harris Interactive* revealed that two-thirds of US adults were at least somewhat interested in living in Bicycle City, while one-in-six indicated they were very interested in living in Bicycle City. The most attractive aspects of the community to respondents were the active and healthy lifestyle, reduced energy consumption, sense of community and close proximity to shops, community areas and restaurants, and the lack of smog. More than half of the respondents cited the “opportunity to live a lifestyle that results in less impact on the Earth.” It is clear that people want affordable homes that are designed with the most efficient methods and materials to minimize its impact on the land, air and water. They want their home to be surrounded by a community designed to foster an active, earth-friendly lifestyle.

Bicycle City is a unique solution to the market need for eco-friendly homes within a community designed to support an active lifestyle.

Everywhere you look today you see news reports and articles with predictions of dramatic changes to the global climate, changes that will affect the way everyone lives. Every day there are new films, articles and magazine covers dedicated to climate change. Television stations dedicate entire weeks to raising awareness of the environment. A search on Google for “global warming” results in almost 23 million hits.

The issue surrounds us. It makes us think about the way we live.

People are aware and interested in learning more about what they can do to lessen their impact on the Earth. Many people are taking actions – small changes in many areas of their lives – what they eat and how they get around - for their health and for the health of the Earth, but experts agree that more significant changes will be needed.
Christopher B. Leinberger, a land use strategist and developer, and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, says, “There are many segments of the population that want something different; what can be broadly called “walkable urbanism… There is pent-up market demand for the alternative to drivable sub-urbanism that is readily apparent.” Recent consumer research by Jonathan Levine of the University of Michigan and Lawrence Frank of the University of British Columbia suggests that roughly one in three homeowners would prefer to live in walkable, urban places. (Source: Christopher B. Leinberger Website; The Atlantic: The Next Slum?)

Alex Steffen, executive editor of WorldChanging, the most widely-read sustainability-related publication on the Internet, writes, “...we most need to adopt one solution that leverages almost all the others: stop sprawl and build well-designed compact communities. …That's because the land-use patterns in our communities dictate not only how much we drive, but how sustainable we're able to be on all sort of fronts. In other words, there is a direct relationship between the kinds of places we live, the transportation choices we have, and how much we drive. The best car-related innovation we have is not to improve the car, but eliminate the need to drive it everywhere we go.”
Imagine if all those little steps that so many people are taking could be magnified to create a place where all the best ways that we know to live healthier are combined. We will have a city of high-density living, mixed with commercial tenants – restaurants, service professionals, retail, artists — designed to allow people to walk or ride bikes to take care of their daily errands and appointments. Active, engaged residents will continue to improve the community, supporting art and music, managing local farming and working toward sustainable energy sources. All around the town center will be acres of undeveloped land. Beautiful vistas, creeks, lakes. Residents will bike, hike and explore. Visitors will come to experience Bicycle City. Some of them will come back to stay.

Local Resources — Sustaining Bicycle City

Bicycle City will attract people who are committed to reducing chemicals from their lives — from the food they eat and the air they breathe. These same people will appreciate that the organic farm at Bicycle City doesn’t contribute to the pollution of local water or harm the neighboring wildlife. The farm at Bicycle City will not only attract residents who both want to eat the produce and grow it – that is, work on the farm – the successful implementation of the farm will bring revenue and jobs to the community. The U.S. organic food market rose to $16.7 billion in 2006. Organic food is available in many conventional supermarkets today, and although it may cost more, consumers are willing to pay for it.


Of the 6 billion people living in the world, there are five to ten thousand who will choose to change the way they live, and if the option is available, they will make an active choice to protect their own health, the health of their families and the health of the Earth.

* This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Bicycle City LLC between March 11 – March 13, 2008 among 2,920 U.S. adults. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.

Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit HarrisInteractive.com.

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