The human infrastructure of a cycling city

Amsterdam through the eyes of international newcomers

This paper offers a qualitative exploration of what makes Amsterdam a “cycling city”. Through semi-structured interviews, the article explores the main factors which encourage cycling uptake among international newcomers to Amsterdam. Instead of relying on a division between “hard” and “soft” factors, we approach the city as a sociotechnical system, arguing that the material and social factors which encourage cycling in Amsterdam are co-constitutive. We identify seven main factors encouraging cycling, whichtend to be mutually reinforcing and highlight the critical role of the “human infrastructure” formed by cyclists themselves in encouraging cycling. Finally, our analysis uncovers a temporal dimension of cycling uptake, showing that many newcomers become increasingly reliant on cycling over time.

Samuel Nello-Deakin & Anna Nikolaeva (2020): The human infrastructure of a cycling city: Amsterdam through the eyes of international newcomers, Urban Geography,

DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2019.1709757

Image credits

Header image: Bron: Stadsarchief Amsterdam

Icon image: Bron: Stadsarchief Amsterdam