Words by Tess Becker
A large talking point in the US of late has been the sheer lack of walkable cities and limited public transportation outside of the biggest cities. Some cities have navigated this is with programs that incentivize bike usage, particularly in cities that aren’t totally walkable.
Brazil and many other places around the world are now doing something similar.
Bloomberg Philanthropies, the philanthropic arm of the media conglomerate set up by Michael Bloomberg, set up a program to offer cities around the world the chance to bid for up to $1m (£800,000) to build or expand new cycling and walking systems. Now ten months later the money has been awarded out, $1m for the winner and $400,000 apiece for the other nine cities.
The cities will also receive aid from the Global Designing Cities Initiative with things such as design and local engagement.
The top prize went to the Brazilian city of Fortaleza which boasted a plan to build more than 110 miles of protected cycle routes. The plan specifically aims to get more children and elderly people riding bikes, as well as to incentivize bike cargo deliveries.
“Demand and interest in urban cycling is skyrocketing,” James Anderson, who leads the government innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, said. “The need to offer residents more sustainable mobility options is also urgent and critical. But we all know that city infrastructure has not kept pace.”
The contest received entries from 275 cities across 66 countries, and ideally, that’s a sign of renewed interest in cycling and walkable options.
Other bike lane-focused winners included Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, which is aiming to build Africa’s largest network of urban cycling routes. Quelimane, a major seaport in Mozambique, won money for an plan that also includes pedestrian traffic in mind.
“If you want people in communities that have not typically participated in some of the sustainable mobility options, you need to go there and you need to work with them, need to get their thoughts on how to make cycling infrastructure useful in their day-to-day lives,” James said.
At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.
The Women Invested to Save Earth Fund. This organization helps support underrepresented and underfunded Black, indigenous, and women of color-led organizations across the world. Find out more and support them here.
Florida Bicycle Association. An organization that helps mobilize people and promote greener living and safer biking. Find out more.
Collective Sun. They help nonprofits get outfitted with solar power capabilities. Check them out here.