Melissa and Chris Bruntlett are Canadian authors and urban mobility advocates who strive to communicate the benefits of sustainable transport and inspire happier, healthier, more human-scale cities. Their first book, Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality, explored the urban and transport planning decisions that established the Netherlands as a bicycle paradise, and how North American communities are translating these ideas to build their own cycling cities.
Chris will be speaking on a number of topics including:
· Quick wins – proven successes of low-cost, low-effort measures to increase cycling
· Pop-up to permanent – Light, fast construction methods, materials, practices
· Bikenomics – how the the (local) economy benefits from cycling
· Touristic & recreational routes – how to include cycling into tourism & recreation
· Parking – Learning best practice when it comes to secure, convenient parking
· Communication and storytelling – Winning “hearts and minds” with stakeholders
MADE (Media, Architecture, Design Edmonton- www.joinmade.org)
University of Alberta School of Urban and Regional Planning,
City Councillor Michael Janz
Paths for People,
Urban Land Institute,
Alberta Professional Planners Association
Alberta Association of Landscape Architects
University of Alberta Sustainability Council
The Human Case for Fewer Cars in our Lives
In 2019, mobility experts Melissa and Chris Bruntlett began a new adventure in Delft in the Netherlands. They had packed up their family in Vancouver, BC, and moved to Delft to experience the biking city as residents rather than as visitors. A year earlier they had become unofficial ambassadors for Dutch cities with the publication of their first book Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality.
In Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in Our Lives, Melissa and Chris Bruntlett chronicle their experience living in the Netherlands and the benefits that result from treating cars as visitors rather than owners of the road. They weave their personal story with research and interviews with experts and Delft locals to help readers share the experience of living in a city designed for people.
In the planning field, little attention is given to the effects that a “low-car” city can have on the human experience at a psychological and sociological level. Studies are beginning to surface that indicate the impact that external factors—such as sound—can have on our stress and anxiety levels. Or how the systematic dismantling of freedom and autonomy for children and the elderly to travel through their cities is causing isolation and dependency.
In Curbing Traffic, the Bruntletts explain why these investments in improving the built environment are about more than just getting from place to place more easily and comfortably. The insights will help decision makers and advocates to better understand and communicate the human impacts of low-car cities: lower anxiety and stress, increased independence, social autonomy, inclusion, and improved mental and physical wellbeing. The book is organized around the benefits that result from thoughtfully curbing traffic, resulting in a city that is: child-friendly, connected, trusting, feminist, quiet, therapeutic, accessible, prosperous, resilient, and age-friendly.
Planners, public officials, and citizen activists should have a greater understanding of the consequences that building for cars has had on communities (of all sizes). Curbing Traffic provides relatable, emotional, and personal reasons why it matters and inspiration for exporting the low-car city.
NOW AVAILABLE from Island Press (use promo code "BRUNTLETT" for 20% off) and Marston Books (use promo code "ISCT" for 30% off). Also available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and independent booksellers.
Building the Cycling City
The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality
Around the world, countries marvel at the Netherland’s impressive cycling culture and infrastructure while an insidious “that would never work here” attitude prevents real change from happening. But the Dutch overcame many of the same challenges as other car-clogged countries, and their story is an important model for moving the rest of the world toward a more human-scale, bike-friendly future.
In Building the Cycling City: The Dutch Blueprint for Urban Vitality, Melissa and Chris Bruntlett share the triumphs and challenges of the Dutch cycling story, show how some of the ideas are already being adopted in global cities, and draw out concrete lessons for other places to follow their lead. Drawing from historical context, interviews with local experts, and their own experiences riding in five Dutch cities, the Bruntletts explore topics ranging from bicycle style and parking to the relationship between cycling and public transit. Special attention is given to less well-known Dutch cities, including Utrecht and Rotterdam.
In each chapter, the book shows how North American cities are already following the Dutch example and transforming themselves to include more public spaces, safer cycling facilities, innovative bike-share schemes, and other, more inclusive mobility options. In some cases, these efforts are bolstered by collaboration with organizations such as the Dutch Cycling Embassy and PeopleForBikes, which are working to translate what has worked for decades in the Netherlands into tangible solutions for the streets of Austin, San Francisco, and countless other cities.
Uplifting stories range from the introduction of cargo bikes in Portland to protected bike lanes born from tactical urbanism in Boston. Other lessons include how beautiful cycling infrastructure—like Calgary’s Peace Bridge—can increase enthusiasm for cycling and pave the path forward for further investment in cycling projects. Interviews with local activists and city officials give depth to the stories and illuminate how people are adapting the Dutch model for their own city’s needs.
The stories prove that city design is not set in stone, and changing cycling culture can be done even where it seems impossible. To affect this change, political courage is needed, and citizen activism is often required. Building the Cycling City will leave readers inspired and ready to adopt and implement approaches to make their own cities better places to live, work, play, and—of course—cycle.