We are an advocacy and r+d group for future urban mobility and post carbon urbanism. Our work includes research, design, and communication across various urban scales and contexts. We see mobility as a key factor for prosperous urban transformation in light of climate chaos and related sustainability crises.
Smarter Than Car (STC) was initially founded in Beijing in 2010. As China’s first cycling advocacy group, STC’s work was built around hosting events such as rides and lectures, elaborating policy documents, and drawing attention to urban cycling through media communications. After researching urban cycling cultures and bicycle urbanism with Beijing as a case study, our scope expanded internationally.
In 2012 STC became a think tank and open research project investigating and advocating for pedal-powered vehicles as a tool for shaping future cities in Asia and around the globe. In 2012 Smarter Than Car established a new base in Vienna, Austria, with a registered not-for-profit association for public benefit.
During the years 2012-2015 we were primarily engaged in building a new bicycle culture in China and beyond. In this context our activities in China were especially exciting as we were facilitating bicycle cultural exchange to inspire new approaches in bicycle urbanism and cycling advocacy. During that period we elaborated concepts such as Bicycle Urbanism, Negotiated Flow, and Bicycle Livelihoods as approaches to facilitate future urban mobility. Our work has been inspired by Beijing’s bicycle cultures of the past and is rooted in the urban expertise of our multidisciplinary team.
Since 2015 STC has expanded its focus on mobility as a cross cutting theme to work on pressing urban issues such as the climate crisis and resource depletion. Nowadays STC is run as a non-profit research and design group for the public benefit and is exclusively located in Vienna, Austria.
Smarter Than Car is an Associate Partner of the United Nations World Urban Campaign and a partner in the Sustainable and Low-carbon Transport (SLoCaT) Partnership.
Florian Lorenz is an interdisciplinary planner and communications expert with a focus on post-carbon urbanism, mobility and citizen engagement. Florian consults cities, companies and NGOs developing projects in collaborative settings.
In his non-for profit work Florian is working with the team of Smarter Than Car to pro-actively further the decarbonisation agenda. As one of the co-founders of the Low Carbon City foundation Florian is engaged to implement citizen-led projects to build communities beyond a dependence on fossil fuels.
Joshua is a doctoral candidate at the University of Vienna’s Department of Geography. His research focuses on the intersection of sustainability science, policy narratives, and societal transformation. Originally from the United States, he is part of the coordination team for the 4CITIES Erasmus Mundus Master Program in Urban Studies and a lecturer on policy analysis, innovation and systemic transition, methods of urban analysis, and cinematic urban geographies.
Georg is an architect, designer, and artist based in Vienna, Austria. In addition to freelancing he works on a variety of personal projects. He is also a guest lecturer at the institute for experimental architecture/studio3 at the Technical University of Innsbruck, Austria. A dedicated cyclist since childhood, Georg has ridden everything from fat downhill mountainbikes to sleek road bikes and still enjoys the pleasure of his everyday bicycle commute. This passion for cycling converges with his interest in cities and their future as natural habitat for the majority of earthlings. Interested in all scales and aspects of design, he likes thinking in big pictures even whilst engaging small details. Georg collaborated with Smarter Than Car on several occasions before officially joining the team in the fall of 2015.
Francesco, an urbanist with a multidisciplinary background developed from living in Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, UK and finally, landing in Vienna. He has a focus on participation and environmental issues as well as policies related to sustainable urbanism. He's passionate about running, cycling, hiking and then using these experiences in his professional life. He works in the field of EU projects and in the field of traffic planning. His passion for bike mobility led him to become also a team leader of bike tours and to focus on bike advocacy. Francesco firmly believes that bicycles and pedestrians are the basis for mobility and living in the future, where people and the environment are again the center.
Shannon is an Australian with a background in architecture and urban planning. He has worked on urban projects in China, the Middle East and Australia. Shannon has been living in China since 2009 observing China’s unique bicycle cultures. He is now concentrating his efforts on helping to rebuild Beijing as a global bicycle city since 2009 through his work as co-founder of China’s first bicycle NGO of ‘Smarter Than Car’ (www.stcbj.com) and the entrepreneurial activities of his company ‘Serk Cycling’ (www.serk.cc). He has lectured extensively on bicycle culture in China and founded a number of new cycling culture events in China.
Liman is a native of Beijing, growing up in the ‘golden bicycle age’ during the 1970′s and 80′s. She has fond memories of cycling in a city packed full of bikes and urban cycling culture. After graduating from University she went abroad for 10 years living and working in five different cities and experiencing auto dependent transportation first hand. In 2010 she co-founded Smarter Than Car. In 2012, she started a space called Serk. The space is a combination of café/bar and bike shop. This space is the first of its kind in China. She uses this space as a launch pad to promote bicycle culture and organize cycling events.
We welcome collaborators depending on their background and current projects. Please contact us if you want to work with STC.
Sara is a student of Urban Studies at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California with a concentration in Urban Society and Social Change. She is passionate about equity issues surrounding transportation, including the role that income and racial segregation play in access to mobility. Sara has worked with STC to conduct research on the accessibility of Vienna's bike share program, Citybike Vienna, for low-income and under-represented communities, a project that also included a simultaneous survey of socioeconomic barriers to access for three U.S. bike share programs: Citibike NYC, Nice Ride in Minnesota, and Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C. Sara is currently working on a senior thesis that uses the results of the Citybike Vienna project to produce a deeper analysis of equity issues within U.S. bike share programs and their potential to address the transportation needs of low-income and marginalized communities.