The Making of a Pro-cycling City: Social Practices and Bicycle Mobilities

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This article explores the contemporary co-production of bicycle practices in Copenhagen and the heterogeneous work involved in making a city pro-cycling. Attention is given as much to the sayings and doings of everyday commuters, as to planners, physical designs and campaigns. I ask: why, and how, are cycling practices continually (re)produced in Copenhagen and how can they attract so many practitioners? The first section discusses and employs practice theory, as it is well suited for examining practices of cycling. The second section explores how Copenhagen Municipality designed and scripted a cycle-friendly space by installing bike infrastructure, promoting cultural meanings and nourishing user competences. I argue that this is done through a heterogeneous process of normalizing and mainstreaming cycling and making alliances with other commuters. The third section shows how cyclists co-produce cycling practices by performing cycling and by enlisting and passing on knowledge to new practitioners. The concluding section highlights the potentials of practice theory to fully understand cycling, and it unravels some of the problems of Copenhagenizing low-cycling cities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)876–892
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Cycling
  • Practice theory
  • Mobility
  • Cities

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