Mikael has been working passionately to transform and improve cities for over a decade. He founded Copenhagenize Design Company in 2007 and has since worked tirelessly on urban planning projects for cities around the world. A much sought-after speaker, Mikael has given his inspirational keynotes in over 100 cities, combining his many urban philosophies with his work experience in cities in entertaining and thought-provoking presentations.
Mikael is best known for his philosophy about simplifying urban planning and urban cycling and how we should be designing our cities and streets instead of relying on traffic engineering. Using design - a human-to-human process - to make better the urban landscape will get more results quicker and teaming design up with anthropology, sociology and transport psychology first will ensure effective urban transformation.
His book Copenhagenize - the definitive guide to global bicycle urbanism, which was published in April 2018, sums up over a decade of his thinking, analysing and efforts to force urban change using the bicycle as the most effective tool in our urban toolboxes. He is currently hosting a global television series about urbanism called The Life-Sized City where he curates great ideas and experiences from cities around the world.
Is it clear that Mikael’s fresh approach to talking about urbanism in general and bicycle urbanism in particular have made it difficult to put him in a specific category. He has been called many things in an attempt to describe what he does and how he does it. The Canadian newspaper La Presse dubbed him “The Pope of Urban Cycling“ and many newspapers have continued to use it. The Guardian has thrown “the Richard Dawkins of cycling“ and “the Sartorialist on Two Wheels” into the mix while “Tom Cruise/Bieber/Rock Star of urban cycling…” have also been employed. As has “The Modern Day Jane Jacobs“. Mikael continues to rewrite the playbook about how to inspire, provoke and engage people about the future of urbanism in our cities.
Mikael has contributed greatly to improving the narrative around urban cycling and the needs of the citizens if we are to put the bikes back in our cities. Among the words and catch phrases he has coined are; cycle chic, copenhagenize, bicycle urbanism, citizen cyclist, viking biking, the slow bicycle movement, the arrogance of space and many more.
Mikael has spent over ten years focusing on bicycle urbanism and will continue to do so but he can now broaden his scope to include other aspects of urban development and citizen engagement. There is so much more work to be done in urban design, economic development, public transport, equity, physical and mental health. Mikael is an energetic and passionate partner for projects large and small.
All of Mikael’s thinking has been translated directly into practice. At the helm of Copenhagenize Design Company he worked directly on projects, or oversaw them, in over 100 cities. Talking the talk AND walking the walk. Everything from planning bicycle infrastructure in cities, graphic design of logos and visual identities, product design, designing graphics for wayfinding, advising politicians on strategy and communication… you name it.
Inspired by the work of William H. Whyte, he pioneered using the art direct observation to study cyclist behaviour and using the Desire Lines of cyclists and pedestrians as a map for redesigning cities. Through his Desire Lines Analyses of intersections in five cities, over the behavioural transport patterns of over 100,000 cyclists have been mapped, analysed and quantified. It is the largest behavioural study of cyclists in history and studying cyclist behaviour continues to fascinate Mikael.
Mikael works on all levels. From the idea phase through development and on to implementation, whether it is a project, product, design or coaching.