Production Research

Conception and production methods are key to bring sustainable change. Here's a short summary of what we recently came across.

1. Designing for sustainability


To provide some context, here's a fantastic quote from the academic survey led by the Duke University "The complete Impact of Bicycle Use: Analyzing the environmental Impact & Initiative of the Bicycle Industry [2]".

"Bicycles are commonly considered a tool for environmental solutions. Increasing ridership reduces fossil fuel consumption, eases traffic congestion, and improves public health by reducing risks associated with obesity (Bikes Belong; Hall, 2012). While these impacts are undeniably important to create a more sustainable society, they fail to bring up an important question: are bicycles produced sustainably?"

How to design a sustainable bicycle, each step of the way?

Producing bicycles in a sustainable way requires to rethink each step of its production, from the conception to its after-life. To do this, there's an interesting model called the Okala Design (used by Trek for their Atwood and Belleville ecodesign in 2009). The Okala Design is a set of guidelines aiming to create performing products while minimising the ecological impact. The model doesn't seem to be currently much used in Belgium yet (please do email us if you have used it, we want to hear about your experience!)[2].

2. Urban production hubs

While looking into the potential of locally producing bicycles, we stumbled upon the exhibition "A Good City Has Industry" organized in Bozar (Brussels) in 2016 [3]. Where are goods produced in a city? Who makes them? Where are they consumed? How are they consumed?

In the visitor guidebook of the exhibition, a map depicts the disparity between the 'Makers' - where there's a higher level of technical education level (represented in red) & the 'Thinkers' - where there's a higher level of higher education level or office districts (represented in blue)

The concept of a productive city, allowing very short suppy chains and the involvement of local communities, is very interesting due to its opportunities [2 & 3].

  • Becoming more self dependent as cities vs. making dependent of low-wage countries.

  • Investing in pluri-culture of employment vs. in mono employment (which is the knowledge economy).

  • Bridging the gap between the thinkers vs. makers (see the map above).

  • Developing our circular economy vs. a linear economy

To end this update, we'd like to share a great graph produced by the Architecture Workroom: The Missing Link[4]. It underlines: "We have set ourselves ambitious goals. Nevertheless, the future is difficult to imagine in terms of quality gains. The path to the future is uncertain. That is the 'missing link': we know what to do, but we don't know how to get there".

Could Longlife Bike be a missing link towards being climate neutral in 2050? More updates soon!


🚧 This wiki will always be under construction — if something is missing or wrong, please contact us at; and we'll make sure to add or fix it. 🚧

You are welcome to contribute as well!

Last updated