Last Tuesday I took the train from Stockholm to Copenhagen, to participate in the Suitable for Business conference and case competition. I have been in Copenhagen several times in the last couple of years, and this weekend I had some time to just wander around. Many words have been written on the state-of-the art bicycle infrastructures and lively streets in the Danish capital, but last week I noticed a new aspect of Copenhagen's design, which I think can explain a lot of the vibrant feeling in the city.
Yup, not wide and fancy but narrow and humble sidewalks. Some might say even too narrow, and it’s common to see parents pushing strollers, while blocking people behind them.
You might say “narrow the car road and give the people some space to walk!”. But I think that these sidewalks are one of the elements making Copenhagen such a great city. They are bringing people closer, increasing the chance to make a small conversation or a new friend.
I took these pictures in Torvegade, a street in Copenhagen’s center. The street accommodates four car lanes and two wide bicycle paths. The space left for the sidewalk is not only narrow, but is also taken by some cafes’ tables and parking bikes. But the Danes didn’t seem to care, because they went out to the street for that very reason: to be around people.
Oh, at the end I also won the competition. Nice week!