Teaching Case - Choosing the Road Less Traveled: How Cycling Took Hold in Copenhagen

Choosing the Road Less Traveled: How Cycling Took Hold in Copenhagen


Educator Access
A review copy of this case is available free of charge to educators and trainers. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to this material.

Permission to Reprint
Each purchase of this product entitles the buyer to one digital file and use. If you intend to distribute, teach, or share this item, you must purchase permission for each individual who will be given access. Learn more about purchasing permission to reprint.

  • Product Description

    In the first two decades of the 21st century, Copenhagen has vaulted to international attention for its enthusiastic bicycle culture and infrastructure. While it’s tempting to dismiss this accomplishment as inherently easy because it took place in a city and country known for socially liberal politics, this case—by summarizing the history of cycling politics and policy in Copenhagen since the 1970s—shows that the evolution of Copenhagen as a bike city was neither quick nor easy, and that the city wrestled (and continues to wrestle) with many of the same conflicts that have hampered efforts to promote biking in other cities around the world. In so doing, the case invites a more nuanced analysis and discussion of the actual keys to Copenhagen’s success.

    Learning Objective:
    Positioned at the end of a semester-long HKS class in urban politics and planning, this case was conceived as a way to push back on the lack of agency many students feel when confronting the magnitude of the challenges facing contemporary cities and their governments. By example, the case allows students to discover for themselves the scaffolding behind an apparently “inevitable” positive outcome.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: December 18, 2017
    HKS Case Number: 2113.0
    Case Author: Pamela Varley
    Faculty Lead: Quinton Mayne
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 20
    Setting: Denmark
    Language: English
    Funding Source: U.S. Department of Transportation’s New England University Transportation Center
    _year: _year
    _pages: 16-25
    _geography: Europe
  • Warranty Information