How Do Bicycles Influence The Architecture Of Cities?

Bicycles and cycling have seen a major push in community development in cities around the world in recent years, with governments pledging millions in order to make cities more cycle-friendly in an effort to improve the physical and mental health of its inhabitants. But other than making the air cleaner and its people healthier, how does cycling influence the architecture and design of a city?

Image source 

Visual exposure to a location

Whether in a major city or a small town, removing the protective barrier of a car really exposes both locals and visitors to the visual splendor of that location. A driver will usually consider what is the quickest route from point A to point B; one that avoids traffic and toll roads and limits the amount of time spent in the car. This will keep them confined to highways and constantly aiming for tower blocks of multi-storey parking.

Image source

Cyclists not only experience the route at a much slower pace, they come face-to-face with the architecture of every street and every turn. No roof to limit their views above them, no blind spots to keep them from getting a 360 view of every public space, and no barrier to the sounds and smells of the community that lives there. Try cycling past a bakery and not stopping for a freshly-baked treat or a cup of coffee.

Economic accessibility

One of the main oppositions to wide-scale bicycle accessibility often comes from communities that fear a reduction in parking facilities. Cities like San Francisco, a city known to be notoriously difficult for drivers to find parking, vehemently opposed plans to create protected bike lanes to Polk Street, one of the busiest cycling corridors in the city.

Polk Street, San Francisco faced a great deal of public opposition when it introduced dedicated cycle lanes. Image source

In contrast, when similar cycle paths were put in place in New York City - along 8th and 9th Avenues no less - retails sales along those routes saw a massive 49% spike after they were completed. Highlighting the disconnect between those who drive and those who shop, which is often overestimated.

In fact, a survey of business owner's in Toronto revealed that while business owners on average guessed that 25% of their customers drove, the reality is that a mere 4% used 4 wheels to get to their stores, and a healthy 72% of visitors walked or cycled, which actually suggests that better cycle paths will mean better business for retail stores.

The future of cycle cities

The invention of the automobile at the turn of the century completely redefined how cities were planned and developed. Roads were seen as the lifeblood of cities and the infrastructure in subsequent decades has almost entirely been centred on automobile accessibility. But with a growing focus on alternative methods of getting around - including cycle highways and bike-sharing technology - cities in 30 or 40 years could be almost unrecognizable.

Image source 

While businesses and individuals rethink where they want to allocate their resources, the function of cities will likely be less about convenience and more of an experience; and how locals and visitors move through that space will greatly impact how it will be shaped and how it will operate.

European Velo Stops architecture competition

The European Velo Stops architecture competition is tasking participants with designing rest stop cabins for travellers along Europe’s large-scale EuroVelo cycle path network. Designs for the cabins will need to ensure that they can be replicated at multiple locations along the EuroVelo 6 route, which traverses the continent from the Atlantic ocean to the Black Sea.

The jury are looking for simple designs in keeping with the natural surroundings, rather than overly sophisticated projects that have the potential to mar the landscape.

Winning designs will be considered for construction as a part of the Bright Blueprint initiative as a way to help support Europe's Velo culture.

Open architecture competitions

  • Closest Deadline first
  • Project competitions first
    Selected winning projects have the potential to be constructed
  • Ideas competitions first
    Experimental competitions with the focus on pushing the boundaries of creativity
ideas COMPETITION
The Last Nuclear Bomb Memorial

Design a memorial that speaks to the cause of ending all nuclear weapons programs

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Dec 15
Jan 27
Apr 21
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge

Design affordable housing solutions for Toronto

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Dec 16
Jan 28
Apr 22
Register now
project COMPETITION
Omuli Museum of the Horse

Reimagine a historical primary school into a museum for horses

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Dec 14
Jan 26
Apr 23
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
SKYHIVE 2021 Skyscraper Challenge

Fourth annual competition to redefine the modern-day skyscraper

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Dec 17
Jan 29
Apr 23
Register now
project COMPETITION
Sleeping Pods on a Cliff

Design a series of sleeping pods for a Portugal yoga retreat

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Dec 18
Feb 01
Apr 27
Register now
project COMPETITION
Tiny Kiwi Meditation Cabin

Design a meditation space in New Zealand

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Dec 21
Feb 02
Apr 28
Register now
project COMPETITION
Spirala Community Home

Create a community home for the Spirala Ecological Village

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Dec 22
Feb 03
Apr 29
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
Berlin Techno Booth

Bring back techno music to the streets of Berlin by designing individual dance booths

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Mar 23
Apr 20
Jul 06
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
Modular Home Design Challenge 2021

Design a modular dream home

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Mar 24
Apr 21
Jul 07
Register now
essay COMPETITION
Essay: Modular Architecture

How modular design has impacted architecture?

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Mar 25
Apr 22
Jul 08
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
Hospice - Home for Terminally Ill

Design a safe and supportive space for those struggling with a terminal illness

Prize: MONETARY AWARD
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Mar 30
Apr 27
Jul 13
Register now
project COMPETITION
Romantic Cabin For Two

Design a romantic and secluded cabin for two in New Zealand

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Mar 31
Apr 28
Jul 14
Register now
project COMPETITION
Monte d'Oiro Wine Hotel

Design a new hotel set within a beautiful Portuguese Monte d'Oiro vineyard

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + CONSTRUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Apr 01
Apr 29
Jul 15
Register now
essay COMPETITION
Essay: Architecture of Illusions

Do you have something to say about illusions in architecture?

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN THE BOOK
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
Apr 02
Apr 30
Jul 16
Register now
ideas COMPETITION
MICROHOME 2021 - Small living, huge impact!

Design a new concept of small-scale architecture

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PUBLICATION IN MAGAZINE
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
May 11
Sep 07
Nov 02
Register now
project COMPETITION
Legendary Bird Home 2021

Design a bird home to fund wildlife charities

Prize: MONETARY AWARD + PRODUCTION
Eligibility: OPEN TO ALL

registration deadlines

Remind me
May 11
Sep 07
Nov 02
Register now

ARCHITECTURE COMPETITIONS

Newsletter