Activating the City - Case Studies and References

These are the references and case studies for City Science's guest post "Activating the City". You can see their original report in full here (PDF).

Case Study 1 - The Cycling “Heaven of Heaven”: Houten, the Netherlands

Located about five miles from the city of Utrecht, Houten in many ways is a typical medium-density suburb: single-family homes line the streets; moderate rates of car ownership prevail; on average, there are 1.1 parking spaces per resident (Jaffe, 2015).

Yet in other ways, Houten is far from typical.

In Houten, traffic is restricted to a ring road that surrounds the city; there are no direct links for cars between residential areas. Within the ring road, a network of low-speed streets intended for cyclists and pedestrians connect two intercity train stations, as well as most of the city’s schools, shops, and amenities. Alongside 129 kilometres of brick-red cycle paths, a bike-sharing scheme enables users to rent bikes for a twenty-hour period; each bike comes equipped with a lock, allowing users to park the bike throughout the day. Unlike many other bike-sharing schemes, this makes it easier for users to utilise the scheme to run errands throughout the day.

“If the Netherlands is heaven for bicycles”, says Peter Furth (Powers, 2013), Professor of Civil Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston, then for him “Houten is the heaven of heaven.”

Taken together, Houten’s built environment and bicycle-friendly policy measures result in a high level of traffic safety for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as a large modal share for walking and cycling. In total, 42% of trips shorter than 7.5 kilometres are made by bike, with around 21% completed by foot (Foletta, 2011). In turn, this translates into high levels of overall physical activity; on average, the residents of Houten are more active than people in both neighbouring Veldhuizen and the Netherlands as a whole (Foletta, 2011). In addition, a high modal share for active modes like walking and cycling means economic benefits for the city: two-thirds of the average household budget is spent in the city itself. Studies indicate that the turnover per m2 of shopping area in this pro-bicycle city is 2.5 times higher than elsewhere (Buis & Wittink, 2000).


Improvements in Real Estate Value After Street Pedestrianisation (Walkscore, n.d.)

per square foot

Annual Office Rents: $9

Annual Retail Rents: $7

Annual Apartment Rents: $300

Homes Values: $82



Airparif (2015). ‘Paris sans voiture, quel impact sur les niveaux de pollution de rues fermees a la circulation?’. Available at:

Akbari, H., Rose, S., Taha, H. (2000). ’Characterizing the Fabric of the Urban Environment: A Case Study of Sacramento, California’, Heat Isaland Group. Available at:

Aldred, R. (2015). ‘A matter of utility? Rationalising cycling, cycling rationalities’, Mobilities, 10(5), pp. 686–705.

Arup (2016). ‘Cities alive: Towards a walking world’. Available at:

American Society of Civil Engineers (2013). ‘2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure’. Available at:

Berry, S. (2014). ‘The truth about those road spending figures’, Campaign for Better Transport. Available at:

Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin (n.d.). ‘The Economic Impact of Bicycling in Wisconsin’, Prepared for the Governor’s Bicycle Coordinating Council by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin in conjunction with the Wisconsin Department of Transport. Available at:

Börjesson, M. and Eliasson, J. (2012). ‘The value of time and external benefits in bicycle appraisal’, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 46(4), pp. 673–683.

Boulange, C., Gunn, L., Giles-Corti, B., Mavoa, S., Pettit, C., and Badland, H. (2017). ‘Examining associations between urban design attributes and transport mode choice for walking, cycling, public transport and private motor vehicle trips’, Journal of Transport & Health.

Boyd, H., Hillman, M., Nevill, A., Pearce, A. and Tuxworth, B. (1998). ‘Health-related effects of regular cycling on a sample of previous non-exercisers’, Resume of main findings.

Bucher, J and Buehler, R (2012). ‘City Cycling’, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Buis, J. and Wittink, R. (2000). ‘The economic significance of cycling: A study to illustrate the costs and benefits of cycling policy’, The Hague: VNG Uitgeverij.

Celis-Morales, C., Lyall, D., Welsh, P., Anderson, J., Steell, L., Guo, Y., Maldonado, R., Mackay, D., Pellm, J., Sattar, N and Gill, J. (2017). ‘Association between active commuting and incident cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality: prospective cohort study’, BMJ, Apr 19.

Crawford, F and Lovelace, R (2015). ‘The Economic Cycle: Quantifying the benefits of getting England cycling’, The National Cycling Charity. Available at:

Development Asia (2016). ‘Case Study: How Ciclovia's Car-Free Days Give Bogota Room to Breathe’. Available at:

Department for Transport (2014). ‘Value for Money Assessment for Cycling Grants’. Available at:

Department for Transport (2015). ‘Investing in Cycling and Walking: The Economic Case for Action’. Available at:

Department for Transport (2017a). ‘Transport Appraisal: valuing health impact’. Transport appraisal and strategic modeling research reports and Local transport. Available at:

Department for Transport (2017b). ‘Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy’. Department for Transport. Available at:

Dodgson, J. (2009). ‘Rates of Return on Public Spending on Transport’, RAC Foundation Report Number 09/103.

EU Transport GHG (2011). ‘The contribution of transport to GHG emissions’, EU Transport GHG: Routes to 2050. Available at:

European Commission (n.d.). ‘2050 low-carbon economy’, Climate Strategies & targets. Available at:

European Cycling Federation (2011). ‘Cycle more often 2 cool down the planet! Quantifying C02 savings of cycling’. Available at:

Florida, R. (2002). ‘The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life’, Basic Books.

Flusche, D. (2017). ‘Bicycling Means Business: The Economic Benefit of Bicycle Infrastructure’, Advocacy Advance - a partnership of the League of America Bicyclists & the Alliance for Biking & Walking. Available at:

Foletta, N. (2011). ‘Europe’s vibrant new low car(bon) communities: Houten’, Institute for Transportation and Development Policy. Available at:

Garrett-Peltier, H. (2011). ‘Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study Of Employment Impacts’, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Gehl, J. (2011). ‘Life Between Buildings: Using public space.’ Island Press.

Gregory, D., McLaughlin, O., Mullender, S and Sundararajah, N. (2016). ‘New solutions to air pollution challenges in the UK, London Forum for Science and Policy Briefing paper’. Available at:

Hendriksen, I., Simons, M., Garre, F. and Hildebrandt, V. (2010). ‘The association between commuter cycling and sickness absence’, Preventative Medicine 51(2), pp.132–135

Humphreys, D., Goodman, A. and Ogilvie, D. (2013). ‘Associations between active commuting and physical and mental wellbeing’, Preventive Medicine 57, p.135–139.

International Energy Agency (2013). ‘Transition to Sustainable Buildings: Strategies and Opportunities to 2050’. Available at:

Mason, J., Fulton, L., McDonald, Z. (2015). ‘A Global High Shift Cycling Scenario’. Available at:

International Transport Forum (2017). ‘Linking people and places: New ways of understanding spatial access in cities’. Available at:

Jaffe, E. (2015). ‘A case study in bike-friendly suburban planning’, CityLab. Available at:

Kasteridis, P., Street, A., Dolman, M., Gallier, L., Hudson, K., Martin, J and Wyer, I. (2014). ‘The importance of multimorbidity in explaining utilization and costs across health and social care settings: evidence from South Somerset’s Symphony Project’, The University of York, Centre For Health Economics: CHE Research Paper 96.

Krizek, K., Poindexter, G., Barnes, G. and Mogush, P. (2007). ‘Analysing the benefits and costs of bicycle facilities via online guidelines’, Planning Practice & Research, 22(2), pp. 197–213.

Lee I. M., Shiroma E. J., Lobelo F., Puska P., Blair S. N and Katzmarzyk P. T. (2012). ‘Effect of physical inactivity on major noncommunicable diseases worldwide: An analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy’, The Lancet, 380(9838), pp. 219–229.

Lee, A., and March, A. (2010). ‘Recognising the economic role of bikes: Sharing parking in Lygon Street, Carlton’, Australian Planner, 47(2), pp. 85–93

Litman, T (2010). ‘Quantifying the Benefits of Nonmotorized Transportation For Achieving Mobility Management Objectives’, Victoria Transport Policy Institute. Available at:

Living Streets (2008) ‘Backstreet Children: how our car dependent culture compromises safety on our streets’, Walk to School, London. Available at:

London Borough of Lambeth (2016). ‘Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) DRAFT for Consultation’. Available at:

Loughborough University (2014). ‘Economic cost of physical inactivity’, Evidence Briefing, SSEHS, British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health. Available at:

Marchetti, C. (1994). ‘Anthropological Invariants in Travel Behavior’, Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 47, pp.75-88.

Martin, A., Goryakin, Y. and Suhrcke, M. (2014). ‘Does active commuting improve psychological wellbeing? Longitudinal evidence from eighteen waves of the British Household Panel Survey’, Preventive Medicine 69, pp.296–303

Metz, D. (2015). ‘Future of Cities: beyond Peak Car’, Centre for Transport Studies, UCL. Available at:

Mitchell, N, S., Catenacci, V, A., Wyatt, H, R and Hill, J, O. (2011). ‘Obesity: Overview of an epidemic’. Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2011 Dec; 34(4), pp.717–732.

Mooney, J (2015). ‘Millennials’ Transportation and Housing Choices Will Shape the Nation’, National Association of Realtors. Available at:

Nicolaisen, M. S., and Næss, P. (2015). ‘Roads to nowhere: The accuracy of travel demand forecasts for do-nothing alternatives’. Transport Policy, 37, pp. 57–63.

New York City Department for Transportation (n.d.). ‘The Economic Benefits of Sustainable Streets’, New York City Department of Transportation. Available at:

Office for National Statistics (2016). ‘Family spending in the UK: Financial year ending March 2016’. Available at:

Oliver Wyman (2014). ‘New Models of Healthcare, Presented at Age UK’s ‘For Later Life’ Conference on 1 July 2014. Available at:

Oppezzo, M and Schwartz, D (2014). ‘Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking’. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 40 (4), pp.1142–1152

Ossokina, I. and Verweij, G (2014). ‘Urban traffic externalities: Quasi-experimental evidence from housing prices’. CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

Paez, D. and Caviedes, Á. (2016). ‘Cycling trip assignment in a four-step transport model: Challenging tradition using geographic information systems and discrete choice modeling’, United States Transportation Research Board, Washington, DC.

Palau, R., Forgas, S., Blasco, D. and Ferrer, B. (2012). ‘An Analysis of Greenways from an Economic Perspective’, Tourism Planning & Development, 9:1, pp.15–24.

Powers, M. (2013). ‘A cyclist’s mecca, with lessons for Boston’, The Boston Globe. Available at:

PTEG (2010). ‘Transport and social inclusion: Have we made the connections in our cities?’, Presentation to Eurocities Mobility Forum, Copenhagen.

Pucher, J., Buehler, R., Bassett, D. R., and Dannenberg, A. L. (2010). ‘Walking and cycling to health: A comparative analysis of city, state, and international data’, American Journal of Public Health, 100(10), pp. 1986–1992.

Rajé, F. and Saffrey, A. (2016). ‘The value of cycling’, Cycling Embassy. Available at:

Royal College of Physicians (2016). ‘Every breath we take: The lifelong impact of air pollution’, Report of a working party, RCPCH. Available at:

Rauner, R., Walter, R, W., Avery, M., Wanser, T, J (2013). ‘Evidence that Aerobic fitness Is More Salient than Weight Status in Predicting Standardized Math and Reading Outcomes in Fourth-through Eighth-Grade Students’, PubMed, 163(2): pp.344-348.

Shoup, D. (2011). ‘The High Cost of Free Parking’, Chicago: Planners Press, American Planning Association. Tri-State Transportation Campaign summary available at:

Smith, M. (2016). ‘The number of cars will double worldwide by 2040’, Business Insider. Available at:

Sustrans (2006). ‘Shoppers and how they travel’, Liveable Neighbourhoods, Information Sheet LN02. Available at:

Swift, S., Green, M., Hillage, J., and Nafilyan, V. (2016). ‘Impact of the cycle to work scheme: Evidence report’, Institute for Employment Studies, Report 509.

Teunissena, T., Sarmiento, O., Zuidgeest, M and Brussel, M. (2015). ‘Mapping Equality in Access: The Case of Bogotá's Sustainable Transportation Initiatives’. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation 9 (7).

Townsend N, Wickramasinghe K, Bhatnagar P, Smolina K, Nichols M, Leal J, et al. (2012).  ‘Coronary heart disease statistics: A compendium of health’, Statistics 2012 edition. British Heart Foundation: University of Oxford.

U.S. National Complete Streets Coalition (2012). ‘It’s a safe decision: Complete streets in California’. Available at:

United Nations Environment Programme (n.d.). ‘Cities and Climate Change’, Resource Efficiency, UN Environment. Available at:

Walkscore (n.d.). ‘Walkability, Real Estate, and Public Health Data’. Available at:

World Health Organization (2010). ‘Economic cost of death from air pollution (outdoor and indoor) per country, as a percentage of GDP WHO European Region, 2010’. Available at:

World Health Organization (2012). ‘Burden of disease from Household Air Pollution for 2012’. Available at:

World Health Organization (2015). ‘Physical Activity’. Available at:

World Health Organization (2016). ‘Global Urban Ambient Air Pollution Database (update 2016)’. Available at: 

Zander, A., Passmore, E., Mason, C. and Rissel, C. (2013) ‘Joy, Exercise, Enjoyment, Getting out: A Qualitative Study of Older People’s Experience of Cycling in Sydney, Australia,’ Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2013, pp.1–6.