Ready to pack my bags

The street outside our home.


On Oct 29th, I am heading to Europe for a once-in-a-lifetime study tour of cities in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. My mission – uncover the secrets of residential streets that were built to first serve people rather than cars.

These are streets in neighborhoods that…

  • you can cross without “looking both ways” first;
  • you can take a carefree stroll or bike ride;
  • invite the neighbors to gather and interact;
  • my 6-year old can play on without my constant supervision;
  • allow kids to live active lives and learn independence (close to home).

Yes, believe or not, they exist! Many of you have also had the pleasure to experience these “livable streets” and, like me, pondered the mystery of how they got that way.

Well, now I have the chance to find out. My month in Europe will take me to…

  • Munich, Germany (Oct 30-Nov 5)
  • Rotterdam, Netherlands (Nov 6-12)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (Nov 13-19)
  • Malmö, Sweden (Nov 20-26)

Check out my prezi online to learn more about my research!

Visit the German Marshall Fund’s web page on Urban and Regional Policy Fellowships.


About Denver Igarta

This blog was established to document my search for streets that my 5-year old can play near without my constant supervision. Where kids can live active lives and learn independence. My quest began when I was selected as an Urban and Regional Policy Fellow by the German Marshall Fund, for info: I am a multi-modal transportation planner for the City of Portland (OR), America's sustainable transportation capital. SHORT BIO/PROJECT DESCRIPTION Denver Igarta (October-November 2011), Urban Planner, City of Portland Bureau of Transportation Project: Livable Streets Where People Live: Fostering People-Friendly Streets by De-emphasizing Automobile Traffic in Residential Areas Cities: Munich, Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Malmö Denver Igarta is an urban planner with the Transportation Bureau of the City of Portland. He works on a broad range of transportation policy, street design initiatives and pedestrian, bicycle and freight planning efforts. He recently served as one of the principal authors of Portland's new bicycle plan. He is currently staffing two “active transportation” projects: a rails-with-trails project along the Banfield Freeway and a local street system plan for one of the state's most diverse neighborhoods. He performed his graduate studies at the University of Dortmund, Germany and the University of the Philippines and holds a Master of Science in Regional Development Planning. Portland is struggling to reverse generations of auto-oriented development patterns and make neighborhood streets more “livable” (people-friendly) by restoring their multimodal and placemaking functions. Mr. Igarta's research will evaluate how cities in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden have enacted policies to restore the multiple functions of public streets through traffic management, green infrastructure and giving priority to sustainable travel modes. He will meet with local practitioners, policymakers and civic leaders involved in transportation planning, traffic safety and neighborhood livability projects, street design, and implementation of multi-modal traffic policies. The ultimate aim of the study is to compile a set of best practices and policies implemented in European cities that have broadened the role of residential streets beyond automobile mobility. Additional focus will be given to understanding how acceptable policy tradeoffs are determined within city agencies and the level of public support for measures that restrict car movements, such as reduced speed zones, bicycle streets, shared spaces, residents-only streets and residential parking restrictions.
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