Cycling Advocacy, DIY Urbanism and the Transformation of Automobility
Automobile dependency has had a broad impact on Canadian society, and has become one of the most important influences on how cities are planned. It is widely recognized that increasing the modal share of cyclists, as a part of a broader ‘complete streets’ approach can help alleviate many of the problems associated with automobility. However, the institutionalization of the private automobile in Canadian culture and planning is a significant barrier to more widespread adoption of cycling for transportation. Through comparative case studies in two Canadian cities, this research paper explores the practices of cycling advocates and activists, and their relationship with transportation planning in each city. The objective of this research is to better understand how planners and advocates can create urban transportation systems in which cycling plays a central role. It finds that ‘advocates within government’ such as planners can play an important part in this transformation, but they rely on several key factors, including: 1) a strong and active cycling community, 2) community ownership of cycling projects, 3) political will. Planners should look to “insurgent” community-based planning and advocacy practices to build the necessary support for the transformative goals of planning.