Not Just Bikes: how good urban planning makes our lives more sustainable

If you are interested in urban design, you have probably already stumbled across one of Not Just Bikes’ Youtube videos. Jason Slaughter decided to open this channel in 2019, after a decisive work trip to Houston (USA), which made him realize how cities’ urban planning shapes people’s habits and culture, and how leaving Canada for Amsterdam with his wife and children was a good choice. 

Coming back to North America, he realized how, living in the USA or Canada, it was almost impossible not to use your car to do basic things, like buying groceries or going to school. Meanwhile, in every European city – and Amsterdam above all – it is common to have grocery stores, schools, bars, and many other primary services at a walkable distance from home.

A little over a year since the first video in 2019, the channel reached 100k followers. Now, after three years, it has over 800k followers and almost 90 million views, and it doesn’t seem to stop growing. Due to his peculiar subject, the Youtube channel Not Just Bikes’ success is uncommon: many other Youtube channels speak about urban design and city planning, but they don’t reach his numbers.

Perhaps the secret is – besides being clear and accurate – his fun narrative style or the fact he talks a lot about his personal experiences, or possibly the YouTube algorithm purely decided to show his videos. The sure thing is that by watching Not Just Bikes videos you’ll learn about the importance of shaping our cities around people outside cars, instead of people inside cars: if a city is designed for the advantage of pedestrians and bikes, even car drivers will benefit from its urban planning; instead, if a city is conceived for the head start of car drivers, everyone will spend more time stuck in traffic and get more stress and frustration – not to mention more pollution.             
Improving city walkability, encouraging biking and the use of public transportation is a win-win both for car lovers and pedestrians, and a big win for our planet.

What if this is the innovative thought behind the success of Not Just Bikes?