Businesses drive much of the economy in the U.S., and as a result, much of our culture as a result. In Copenhagen, Denmark, the people often drive its economy and culture, and businesses follow. When Copenhagen decided to go pedestrian-only in the 1960s, businesses went along kicking and screaming fearing the loss of their customers. Little did they know then that that’s a primary reason they’re thriving today.
Illustrating this story is yet another amazing video (above) from the folks at Streetfilms, Copenhagen’s Car-Free Streets & Slow-Speed Zones.
A brief history:
– 1950s. Copenhagen experienced what they call their ‘car invasion’ as the auto industry hit the affordability tipping point.
– Early 1960s. The downtown was congested with cars.
– 1962. The City decided to take cars out of its 1 km main street (at the protest of businesses).
Today. As you can see in the video, the car-free program was such a success that it’s continuously expanding, with the support of businesses. This includes the transformation of 18 pedestrian-only squares that used to be parking lots, and the presence of 7500 cafe seats that are out for 10 months of the year. The latter stat is pretty remarkable considering Denmark is closer to Alaska in latitude.