SKOPJE CREATIVE HUB 2014: new content in public space

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BUU: BICYCLE URBANISM UNIT IN SKOPJE Tutors: Florian Lorenz, Smarter Than Car - STC (Vienna); NaTochak (Skopje) Participants: Victoria Paeva, Ani Arzumanyan, Zvonko Vugreshek, Cvetkova Ilina, Sandra Mojsova, Lazo Lazarov

Why BUU in Skopje? Skopje has grown immensely in the last 10 years, boulevards were widened, green spaces diminished, number of cars doubled while decreasing space for pedestrians and cyclists. Booming Skopje has not yet considered an integral mobility strategy including all layers of society and celebrating active transport as potential for urbanization. This is the starting point for the Bicycle Urbanism Unit in Skopje. The Bicycle Urbanism Unit employs the humble bicycle to connect Skopje’s urbanization onto a human scale. The Bicycle Urbanism Unit works in performative ways, with subjective urban views, in cooperation with Skopje’s population and urban administrtion, with manual and digital tools. The Bicycle Urbanism Unit draws experiential maps of the city, reclaims public space currently occupied by the car and develops a bicycle urbanism vision for Skopje. We develop an alternative urban study for Skopje based on a non-motorized view of the city. The main outcome is a brochure with a strategic vision for the city titled: Skopje 2025 a Bicycle Friendly City, which was distributed to many members of the local authorities, decision makers, private developers and other interested parties in Skopje. Why Florian Lorenz and NaTochak? Florian Lorenz from the Beijing and Vienna based think-tank Smarter Than Car is working on strategies for developing ideas of Future Urban Mobility and Bicycle Urbanism on a global scale. His work ranges from activism to comprehensive urban mobility study for Beijing. We paired him with the local activist group NaTochak (OnBicycle) which together with the participants created the Bicycle Urbanism Unit in Skopje. NaTochak has been one of the most active NGO’s in Skopje, one that managed to built a strong community that is committed and active in promoting bicycle culture in the city. However, their work in raising the awareness about the use of the bicycle in Skopje is mainly activist and event oriented. Their collaboration with Florian Lorenz will elevate their work on a new, strategic level which includes activism and links it to comprehensive urban thinking together with the local authorities. This collaboration was beyond successful, and the group is still active today, months after the completion of the Skopje Creative Hub 2014.