Bicycle infrastructure and bicycle friendly school environments.
This master thesis, including an internship in Paramaribo, Suriname, is offered by the Interdisciplinary Studio for Territories in Transition (ISTT) of the Faculty of Design Sciences at the University of Antwerp. The research builds on the Action Plan for Paramaribo (ISTT University of Antwerp & IBT engineering consultants, 2019) and on previous student work in function of a blue-green network for Paramaribo- North (Neyt, Paeps & Peleman, 2020). Peleman's concepts for sustainable mobility development led to a theoretical mobility plan in response to the lack of road safety and recognition for slow road users in Paramaribo. This follow-up project focuses on actor-oriented and design-driven action research using urban tactics. By means of small-scale spatial interventions in collaboration with local actors, it is investigated how sustainable slow mobility, mainly bicycle mobility, can be stimulated in Paramaribo. This is based on a multi-phased approach with a division into two fields: the mental and the physical.
The first part of the thesis is written collaboratively and includes the framework or prior work, the literature review or preparatory work, and the research task. Part two was written individually during and after the period of stay from February 8 to April 8, 2022 in Suriname and includes the reporting of the research actions on improved bicycle infrastructure (Sam) and bicycle friendly school environments (Marlies) for Paramaribo and the design research to deepen and broaden the research. A first action was the mental activation and further expansion of a network through bilateral and multilateral discussions and meetings with local stakeholders such as residents, businesses, bicycle stores, organizations, government agencies,... and participation in local activities such as bicycle tours. In these, the possibilities for physical action were explored. This resulted in a collaboration with AdeKUS students from the Infrastructure course for the design of a first bicycle bridge in function of the bicycle route. In addition, the application of bicycle symbols on public roads was tested to highlight the bicycle route and draw attention to the rights of cyclists on the road. The Nabawi School is another location where work has been done on both a mental transition, through the organization of a bicycle quest, and a physical transition towards more bicycle use, by means of a painting on the road in front of the school gate. The subsequent research by design continues to test the developed tactics for the Nabawi School, a preschool along the bicycle route and the Anton de Kom University. Finally, a toolbox summarizes the tactics.
The road towards functional bicycle traffic will be slow and in several phases with deliberate detours in the recreational sphere. The enthusiasm for tactical urbanism grows along with the hope for a safer school environment. Local testimonials prove that urban tactics strengthen the belief in local decisiveness and that bicycle use can also be stimulated with simple 'tools out of the box'. The result is renewed hope for long-term change for Suriname through short-term actions.