Today marks a major milestone for the pair of us at Modacity, having just submitted the (as-yet-untitled) manuscript for our first book to our publisher at Island Press! The past nine months have been quite the rollercoaster ride, from developing a detailed outline with our editor, to planning a return trip to the Netherlands to attend the prestigious Velo-city Conference, and conducting over 40 interviews with key figures on both sides of the Atlantic – and even one on the other side of the Pacific. Our goal: to share and celebrate the Dutch success story with the world, and demonstrate how they – as the world’s foremost cycling nation – are informing and inspiring the next generation of cycling cities on North American shores.
We told the story of Rotterdam’s tragic destruction, modernist reconstruction, and subsequent retrofit, and how that transformation inspired New York City to tame its mean streets. We looked at the political courage required to make Groningen’s now-famous traffic circulation plan a reality, and how similar bravery manifested itself in an ‘AAA’ bike network in our hometown of Vancouver. We wrote about how citizen intervention narrowly saved Amsterdam from being buried under freeways, and how those activists are inspiring a new generation of Bostonians to demand more. We explained how Utrecht residents realized a human scale city and car-first city are mutually exclusive, and how the same sentiments are encouraging San Franciscans to reconsider their own thoroughfares. We spoke of how Eindhoven leveraged cycling to reinvent itself from a city of industry to one of technology, and how the sprawling Prairie city of Calgary hopes to follow in its tracks.
We also explored how upright, Dutch-style bikes have endured in their culture for over 125 years, and how one Philadelphia retailer is embracing them as a tool to get more people cycling. We delved into the unique approach the Netherlands takes to road safety policy and infrastructure design, and how those methods are being translated by Austin’s Active Transportation Division. We learned how cargo bikes are causing many Dutch families and businesses to think outside the van, and how Portland became one of the first North American cities to adopt them. We examined how the bike-train combination became a seamless, door-to-door mobility option for a huge portion of the Dutch population, and how that has encouraged Atlanta to use bikes to feed their own transit system. We investigated the unique programs used to educate and empower Dutch immigrants and children, and how Seattle is one of the first U.S. cities to attempt identical measures.
Over the course of the writing process, we were lucky enough to interview a number of dedicated professionals working in the Netherlands, including Former Groningen Alderman Max van den Berg, Urban Cycling Institute Researcher Meredith Glaser, Dutch Cycling Ambassador Mark Wagenbuur, Urban Arrow Founder Jorrit Kreek, Utrecht Deputy Mayor Lot van Hooijdonk, and the University of Amsterdam’s own ‘Fietsprofessor’ Marco te Brömmelstroet. We also spoke to many trailblazers on this side of the Atlantic, including Former New York City Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, Current Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, BikePortland.org Publisher and Editor Jonathan Maus, and City of Calgary Councillor Druh Farrell.
Needless to say, we’re incredibly proud of the end product, and can’t wait to share it with the world when it gets published in September. In the meantime, once copyediting is complete, we enter the fun part of the process, as we team up with the Island Press marketing department to finalize the title, cover, and art selection.
We’re also pleased to return to regularly scheduled programming, after a lengthy hiatus on new blog content, including the resumption of Melissa’s Women in Urbanism series next month. As the weather warms up, we have several exciting events in the works, including B.C. screenings of the wonderful Dutch documentary “Why We Cycle”, and Vancouver’s 4th Annual Cargo Bike Championship in False Creek.
Last but not least, we’re finally in a position to take on new projects, so if you’re interested in any of our services, including content creation or social media management, please get in touch. For the latest on all of the above, including book updates, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or subscribe to this blog via RSS or email. 2018 promises to be an eventful year for Modacity. We’re glad you’re along for the ride!