Graduate School of Social Sciences

Programme information

Planning the Cycling City

This course follows a flipped classroom approach in which Amsterdam is both a story board and a lab. Experience and experiential learning are key components of the course. Students are encouraged to independently explore and examine the city through the lens of the learning material; to get inspiration, to struggle with concepts or to “translate lessons" to their local context.


The course includes intimate discussions with the absolute leaders in fields ranging from sociology to transport engineering, and including influential academics and practitioners. To develop a rich understanding of a cycling city students engage in fieldwork, excursions, small group discussions and course projects. Seminal and recent contributions to the relevant literature are discussed throughout the course.

FMG Summer Programme Cycling City - Bridge - with quote

Photo: Meredith Glaser

Programme topics 

  • History of urban cycling and current trends
  • Power relations in policy: institutional frameworks
  • Strategic planning at different scales
  • The importance of the land use component
  • Streams and wayfinding
  • Bicycle culture and effects: from a social and geographical position
  • Data collection and measurements
  • Dendriles and wormholes: the bike and train system
  • Images: marketing as policy instrument

Practical skills

  • Group model building
  • Using methods to analyse public life and public space
  • Professional presentation guidance
  • Marketing urban cycling in a hostile media environment
  • Web communications and blog platforms

Study Load

The programme schedule from Monday to Thursday includes:

morning lecture (2.5 hours)

lunch break (1 hour; provided by the University)  

afternoon workshop/field excursions (2.5 hours)


Full-day and half-day excursions are part of the programme and will illustrate the Dutch perspectives on what makes a "cycling city." Site visits include:

  1. Kansrijk Zuid-Oost
  2. Group rides in and around Amsterdam
  3. Rotterdam
  4. Wayfinding practice with practioners Mijksenaar

Assessment requirements

Attendance at the seminars and city excursions is obligatory and will be monitored. Absence in case of emergency should be announced and justified by email or in person prior to the meeting concerned. Discussion, reflection, debates, small group exchanges, and field notes will also represent a significant portion of the final mark. The major assessment in this course is a presentation and writing assignment (to be discussed in detail at the start of the course).

Students are encouraged to come to the course prepared with insights and urban cycling challenges from their home city or another. The final presentation will occur on the last day of the programme when the student groups will present their work (the fieldwork and personal views on urban cycling) in a public meeting, hosted at the Amsterdam City Hall.


As a Summer Institute student you receive a participation certificate and a transcript with an official seal from the Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Students who wish to earn credits receive an official transcript stating the courses taken, credits earned and grades obtained. The programme is the equivalent of a 6 European Credits (or 3 American credits) module. Students are responsible for ensuring that their home university will accept the credits and final credit conversions need to be made by the home university.


Published by  GSSS Summer Programmes Office

5 April 2018