Comparative evaluation of community bicycle workshops

Comparative evaluation of community bicycle workshops in Australia, France and UK: Supporting low carbon urban transport,  individual wellbeing, community economies, and cycling cultures

Summary

Cycling is universally praised as a low-carbon mobility (LCM) option, but increasing and sustaining demand from urban residents to desire and use active travel, including cycling, has proven difficult in cities with high levels of automobility and poor bike infrastructure. This project will explore and compare the contribution of community bike workshops (CBWs, 'bike kitchens' or ateliers vélos) in Europe and Australia to increase demand and promote better wellbeing and transport outcomes in different city-regions. CBWs are non-commercial or volunteer-led social enterprises, where people learn to repair and maintain a bike using recycled and re-used parts and shared tools. They are also transformative, and often promote LCM, community strengthening, and alternative economies.

This project has been co-funded with the Connected Cities Lab.

Aims and Activities

Interviews and data collection will be carried out from CBWs in France, London, Melbourne and Sydney. Results will be disseminated on https://bikeworkshopsresearch.wordpress.com/ and in a variety of collective publications. This project aims to respond to the following questions:

  1. How do selected bike workshops create demand for urban cycling? How are they challenging mainstream mobilities through promoting active urban transportation?
  2. What are the major motivations and governance arrangements of these community workshops?
  3. Are workshops 'prefiguring' the low carbon future? As many workshops transition into having salaried employees and more secure premises, are there lessons for urban practice, community economies research, and transition theory?

Project Team

Professor Simon Batterbury, Associate Professor, School of Geography, and Visiting Professor, Lancaster University, UK

Dr Derlie Mateo-Babiano, Senior Lecturer in Urban Planning

European collaborators include Dr Cosmin Popan, Manchester Metropolitan University, and Professor Matthias Kowasch, University College of Teacher Education Styria, Austria.