Cycling Cities: The Munich Experience

By Adri A. Albert de la Bruhèze and Ruth Oldenziel

Munich has embraced cycling as a positive policy instrument, even taking on the mantle of Germany’s cycling capital (“Radlhaupstadt”) in 2010. A remarkable turn of events.

This richly illustrated book shows how until then, the city treated urban cyclists as a nuisance. Well into the 1980s, policymakers devoted their resources to automobility. Even the (underground) public transit system was built to create unhindered flows for cars above ground. Under pressure from social groups since the 1970s, the city responded with alternatives: separate infrastructures for cars, public transit, cyclists, and pedestrians, without giving up on urban automobility like Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

In the 1990s, a public-private collaboration between the city and car manufacturer BMW brought a political compromise: encouraging public transit, walking, and cycling, without curtailing cars. Our story shows that Munich achieved its aim through a true balancing act‒managing different interests, while making cycling a policy benchmark for its standing in the world as livable city.

Publication Date: June 2018
Price: 20 Euro
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Funding: Deutsches Museum Munich; Verkehrsmuseum Munich; City of Munich; Twente University, STEPS; Eindhoven University of Technology TIS Group, History Division