This year’s keynote-speeches focus on cities – Graz, Ljubljana and Groningen. Three cities with similar framework conditions regarding inhabitants, built-up area, and topography, take noticeably different approaches when it comes to preparing suitable conditions for bicycle transport. What connects them, what distinguishes them from each other, and what conclusions can we draw?

The program of the 12th Austrian Cycling Summit is framed by four keynote sessions, for which we could invite distinguished experts from Austria and beyond:

Keynote 1 on Tuesday, May 28th at 10 am

Bernhard Wieser:
Becoming and Remaining a Bicycle Capital

How did Graz become an Austrian bicycle capital? This keynote speech takes us back to the past to understand how the synergy between five factors helped Graz to repeatedly become an especially bicycle-friendly city.

Bernhard Wieser, associate professor at the science, technology, and society unit of Graz University of Technology, looks at technical innovation from the perspective of social sciences and examines the interdependency between technology and society. Apart from bicycles, he is also interested in researching medical technologies.

Keynote 2 on Tuesday, May 28th at 3:45 pm

Robert Huigen:
Help, Too Many bikes!

The City of Groningen has a long history of integrating bikes and cycling into its urban planning. After banning cars rigorously from the inner city in 1977, cycling gained more and more terrain, mostly at the expense of cars. This policy is generally perceived as a success, even to the extent that the municipality now has to deal with a downside of it that others would envy: some serious negative effects of both parked and moving bikes.

Robert Huigen is working as a senior policy advisor for the city of Groningen, cycling capital of the Netherlands. His area of expertise is on the cutting edge of mobility/infrastructure and urban planning. After studying Human Geography in Groningen and working for the municipality as a project manager in urban planning, he then stayed in the northern part of the Netherlands to work for the province of Fryslân. Cycling (infrastructure) was nearly always a part of the projects he was involved in. In his free time, he likes cycling and camping, and he once cycled from the Netherlands to the border of Croatia, crossing the Alps. The most challenging journey, however, will undoubtedly be the cycling holiday with his girlfriend and his 1- and 3-year-old children he is planning for this summer.

Aglaée Degros:
Cycle strategy for small and medium size town, learning from Vlaanderen

With the exception of Vienna, Austria is the country of small and medium-sized cities par excellence. These cities usually have more limited financial and human resources to implement cycling strategies but there are often larger, specific players, such as schools, entrepreneurs or institutions, who can play an important role in the shift towards more active mobility. Gent and Leuven are small Flemish towns which have been successfully experimenting with new cycling infrastructure for several years. What could we learn from these cities, which are comparable in size to many Austrian cities?

Aglaée Degros is professor and chair at the Institute of Urbanism at Graz University of Technology; she is also a Science Fellow of the Free University of Brussels. Aglaée was born in 1972 in Leuven, Belgium, and studied architecture in Brussels, Karlsruhe, and Tampere. In 2001, she founded, Artgineering, an office dedicated to improve the relation between landscape, city and infrastructure, together with Stefan Bendiks. The office was first based in Rotterdam and moved to Brussels in 2014. Degros has held various teaching positions and visiting professorships. She regularly serves as a jury member at international urban planning and design competitions.

Keynote 3 on Wednesday, May 29th at 9:45 am

Barbara Urban & Helmut Spinka:
Bicycle Mobility in Graz

Graz is one of Austria’s most bicycle-friendly cities. This presentation will illustrate which strategic and infrastructural measures are taken by the city of Graz in order to further develop this potential of a cycling city. The audience will get detailed insights into the work of the department of Transport Planning in Graz within the last ten years – ever since the 2nd Austrian Cycling Summit took place in Graz in 2008.

Barbara Urban studied civil engineering at Graz University of Technology, with a specialisation in “Infrastructure and Traffic”. Since 2007, she has been working for the city of Graz at the department of Traffic Planning, where she is responsible for the mobility strategy and the traffic master plan of Graz. Barbara Urban is currently interim head of the department of Traffic Planning. Helmut Spinka studied civil engineering at Graz University of Technology as well, but with a specialisation in “Infrastructure & Environment”. As the city’s cycling advocate, he has been responsible for the continual development of cycling infrastructure in the City of Graz since 2002.

Janez Koželj:
Ljubljana: Sharing (public space) is caring

In Ljubljana, we started introducing the concept of shared space as one of the most effective sustainable urban mobility measures. Shared occupancy of the spaces is the pre-condition for the city to be able to adapt more flexible structures and more efficient multipurpose systems. Furthermore, through experiencing interactions between pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers, the community is growing more responsible, tolerant, and sensitive.

Janez Koželj was born on the 18th of August 1945 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Having taughtUrban design at the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana, he has been a protagonist of the contextual approach to town planning. Since 1995 his focus has shifted to the strategic issues of contemporary urban design. Focusing his research on the contemporary city, he relates site analysis findings to his built projects. He received many national and international awards for architecture. Since 2006 he has been Deputy Mayor of the City of Ljubljana, responsible for urban and traffic planning, urban design, and environment protection. The main task of his office is introducing policies regarding the sustainable transformation of the city.

Keynote 4 on Wednesday, May 29th at 2 pm

Ruth Oldenziel:
Century of Cycling: Pathways towards Sustainability

How to become a cycling city? The key for that answer lies in over hundred years of cycling policy and practice in many cities around the world.

Ruth Oldenziel is a Full Professor in the History of Technology—in particular the relationship between Europe and the United States – at  Eindhoven University of Technology and has numerous publications on cycling history. Currently, she heads the research program “Sustainable Urban Mobility since the 1850s (SUM)” and the project “Cycling Cities: The Global Experience (CC)” in collaboration with the Foundation for the History of Technology, which has received worldwide attention from policymakers and researchers alike.