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MFT VIENNA & BRATISLAVA

Cyklokuchyňa & Cyklokoalícia

IF YOU CAN’T FIX IT, YOU DON’T OWN IT

© Jaap Modder

TEACHING LOVE FOR BIKES BRATISLAVA ‘I wasn’t aware that riding a bike can be an activist act’, said one of the Dutch participants during the Metropolitan Field Trip. What is self-evident for the Dutch with a strong cycling culture, is charged with a different atmosphere in Bratislava. Biking through Bratislava demonstrates the lack of safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. This fact brought to life the Cyklokuchyňa (BikeKitchen) and the Cyklokoalícia (BikeCoalition). They offer a DIY bike workshop, an open source bike sharing system and infrastructure research - teaching love for bicycles. Their motto: ‘If you can’t fix it - you don’t own it’. What counts on a small scale for the bike, goes for the whole city structure. By now, their association grew to an expert organ for the municipality.

cyklokuchyna.criticalmass.sk

cyklokoalicia.sk

A big shortcoming was revealed in the political system fanned by the refugee crisis, starting one and a half years ago. It highlighted the inflexibility of the bureaucratic system. Viennese citizens were pushed to action. Projects like Bockwerk or Magdas Hotel are innovative social businesses that operate on a highly professional level for the integration of (former) refugees. The association Purple Sheep provides shelter for refugees and advises them in legal matters. They seek to continue the disclosure of governmental deficits. ‘Many families that come to us can sleep without feeling in danger for the first time in a long while’, says Karin Klaric, the founder of this association. ‘After fleeing from their home countries, they fled the rigor of the Austrian government. That’s absurd.’

Vienna, being the well-structured city, portrays an illusion of overall perfection. Bratislava in contrast apparently struggles with their drawbacks, where innovation would currently mean linking the NGO’s to a strategic political level. In both cases the necessity of bottom-up and institutional layer listening to each other is obvious. ‘We must work both ways - connecting to the community and working towards the decision makers', adds Dominika Belanská, placemaker and our vibrant host in Bratislava. And something else I personally take with me from this Field Trip: where there is a big bureaucratic machinery, whether well or whether badly functioning, there is a need for creative bureaucrats! ••

fb.com/zelenahliadka magdas-hotel.at purplesheep.at Amelie Schlemmer intern New Europe - Cities in Transition

fb.com/KarlsGarten

citiesintransition.eu

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