9th Child in the City World Conference


Parallel session: Young cyclists (14:00 – 15:30)

Presentation 1: The Schulterblick-concept: empowering children and young people to cycle in the city

Presented by: Robert Fuchs

Abstract: Mobility is one of the key factors for the quality of life in cities. Since cycling in urban traffic is challenging, the non-profit organisation “Schulterblick – Die Wiener Radfahrschule” (The Viennese Cycling School) has developed a concept for organizing cycling courses for school classes in city traffic. On highly frequented cycling lanes children find ideal conditions to strengthen their communicative and cooperative cycling skills in order to successfully interact with different road users. Cooperation as the main teaching goal enables to present cycling in urban traffic as something enjoyable and attractive. For many children and young people, Schulterblick cycling courses offer the first experience of riding a bike in traffic. In consequence, they gain access to a new form of mobility and new approaches to their city. To promote equality of opportunity all children can take part in the course, also beginners, bicycles and helmets are provided, and the participation is free of charge. The Schulterblick concept is applicable to local policy and practice. In 2017 the Schulterblick cycling courses were extended to another city near Vienna. The courses also work as a major signal for child-friendly mobility. Nothing is more convincing in promoting active mobility of young people than to see them actually doing it with a lot of competence and enjoyment. Children are beneficiaries and at the same time the driving force in the transition towards active and sustainable mobility.

Presentation 2: From the Zoo to the Jungle

Presented by: Kaymir Stark

Abstract: As adults, we need a more playful way of seeing the world. To be playful is to have the bravery to act on our own curiosity for the simple sake of adventure, exploration and good times. Society tends to dismiss play for adults. Play is perceived as unproductive, petty or even a guilty pleasure. I feel that play energizes and enlivens us. It renews our natural sense of optimism and opens up spaces for creation. The notion is that once we reach adulthood, it’s time to get serious. And between personal and professional responsibilities, there’s no time for play and spontaneity. The only kind of play we honor is competitive play. Where our young tiger eyes once saw a dense urban jungle full of discovery and stories. Over the years this view blurred and changed to the sparse vision of a mundane zoo animal. Locked up in our own cages of seriousness. As frolic tiger cubs we had a rich and vivid inner world and a unquestionable need to act and cater this urge. For no particular reason we just needed to see stuff with no set goal in mind. The discovery itself was rewarding enough. As we grow more stripes the willingness to act on this curiosity fades — we stop to explore, discover, and learn. I am interested in making people’s lives more playful, adventurous and independent through cycling. The talk will be an uplifting ode to adventure, exploration, haphazard environments and the concept of the ‘Open city’ from Richard Sennett. As a case study I use my 2017 research conducted in Ahmedabad, India. AProCh.org (an initiative from the Riverside school) asked me ‘How can we facilitate play and adventure (through cycling) for children’. During my stay, I was hosted and supported by CEPT University.

Presentation 3: ‘FahrRad! – an innovative educational initiative around bike mobility

Presented by: Sonja Gruber

Abstract: The project “FahrRad!” (english: bike!“) is designed as an innovative educational initiative to be incorporated sustainably into the everyday educational program of six schools and kindergartens in Vienna with mostly high percentage of children with migration background. The consortium consists in an interdisciplinary team including bike designers, bike guides, planners and sociologists which add a wide range of different knowledge and approaches to the project and ensure that the participating children get in touch with diverse aspects and role models around bikes and mobility. As the bike is besides walking maybe the most important means of transport for children which enables them to move independently through the city the project addresses especially educational institutions with children of many different social and cultural backgrounds where bikes often aren’t present or available in the childrens lifes. Within the project children and adolescent take actively part in the innovation and research process in the field of bike mobility. The bike as a practical, everyday life object therefore forms a link to the world of children which promotes the fun in active mobility and sparks interest also in technical-scientific questions. The contact and exchange with role models further opens up new prospects and job profiles in this field. The didactic methodical approach follows the principles of the participative action research and integrates the concept of explorative learning by Humboldt. Results show that the bike is a very suitable means to reach understanding for technical contents while the interest and enthusiasm of the children could be stimulated best throughout practical activities and active biking. A balanced proportion between female and male role models is especially for the technical parts considered as important for further projects in order to approach girls and boys equally.