Friday, May 04, 2007

Amsterdam

PhlogThat settles it...this summer, a trip to Amsterdam is in order. And no, not for the reasons you'd think. I'm mainly interested in the intersection (no pun...really) of pedestrian life with bicycles, cars and trains. Not only does it seem they have interesting food and cultural quirks, but from a planning perspective, how does the Netherlands work exactly?

I know it's mostly built upon "reclaimed" land (soil, rocks etc dredged from the ocean bottom to create, along with dams and dikes and canals something called Polders). The larger question would be How exactly has engineering, both civil and social, formed and influenced their society? I mean, they gave the world wooden clogs, millions of Fietsen, picturesque windmills, tulip speculation and Dutch Disease. Can't say I'm a huge fan of the language though. Or the weather for most of the year. Nonetheless, I'm intrigued.

So, it's off to The Netherlands.

*Photo gleaned from Switchblog.com's Phlog. This is the most awesomest photoblog on the Netherlands known to man.

2 Comments:

Blogger Damali said...

I was just in Japan last week and found the whole bike culture very fascinating. For one, the Japanese ride on the sidewalks. that was weird to me cuz i'm used to NY where folks ride in the street. In Kyoto and Nagoya, alot of the sidewalks are wide and have marked bike lanes(usually closest to the curb); some people adhere to them and some don't. On other more narrow sidewalks, bikers ride and maneuver through crowds of people. If you are in their way, the ones that have bells will ring them, once. Those that don't have bells usually just wait patiently until you move, then they zoom around you. so it's not safe to make sudden movements left or right...you don't know if a bike is behind you waiting to get by.

Oftentimes this would scare the heck out me..i'm not used to bikes whizzing be me all of a sudden. So i would jump or flinch every time. one time my sister almost got hit cuz she tried to move to the left to get out of the way, forgetting that folks walk/ride/drive on the left and she should have moved right. But the Japanese, they don't flinch a bit when the bikes whizz by...that was quite fascinating as well.

9:24 PM  
Blogger emeeul said...

Damali, thanks for the insight on Nippon sidewalk riding. Japanese culture, bike or otherwise, is very intriguing. They seem to demand perfection in details. I like that.

I once worked with a Japanese engineer who had always ridden bikes to work. Upon coming to the USA and trying to ride on our crazy roads, he bought a third-hand Geo Metro. Maybe that's more attributable to the new daughter and dog, but I know it's not fun to ride in most U.S. cities.

BTW, the Wall Street Journal has a nice piece on making America more bikeable (good luck!). *Linked at CommuterPageBlog.

Note: the original post was inspired in part by my discovery of Velo Orange and Jitensha Studio *via Reference Library).

11:12 PM  

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