For many of us, learning how to cycle was our first moment of independence and a valuable memory. The beauty of the bicycle is the journey from learning how to cycle, to the sensory experience of travelling from one destination to another. Cycling nurtures and optimizes all the human senses. We experience the environment differently when we are cycling and within the process, we become more engaged and sensitive to our surroundings.
The proposed scheme is a Cycling Village based in Sailortown, Belfast, that aims to act as a catalyst to improve mobility within the city, promote cycling as a key tool in the process of urbanization and restore the bicycles role in society. In the history of cycling, the bicycle liberated woman and the working class, providing them with an affordable form of independent transport, allowing workers to travel farther for jobs or to look for it. In many cycling cities such as Copenhagen and Utrecht, there have been exponential gains in economic activity and an upturn in social wellbeing.
Whilst aiming to improve cycling infrastructure and mobility within the City of Belfast, the proposal responds to Sailortown’s historical and cultural context by giving a sense of the physical, tactile quality of life of Dockers through programme’s such as the Bicycle Factory. The cycling village explores the tension between solid and void, spatial transitions and captures multiple precedents such as Dutch Concept, ‘Woonerf’ and shared space principles.