RGS-IBG Mid-term 2016 abstract

Katja Leyendecker, Northumbria University

Invading automobility – contesting urban cycle space from above and below

Cities are constantly changing and reinventing themselves, through policy, planning and engineering, undergoing transitions, envisaging new fortunes and futures. Yet transport spaces, city roads and streets, have stayed devoted to the private car, even when urban space comes at a premium. Reimaging city life with ‘less car’ in it, remains a continual challenge. What is needed to discontinue traditional transport thinking and disrupt the car-oriented trend of automobility(1)? Cycling, as such, is a disruptor of the system of automobility. As an opposing force, velomobility(2) claims its own space, rules and demands its own logic. My PhD research takes place in two cities, one with high cycling levels (Bremen, Germany), and the other with low levels of cycling (NewcastleGateshead, UK). The purpose of the research is to bring together both top-down decision-making and bottom-up street use and perception. It will examine people’s observations about their natural street environment as well as confront them with unfamiliar environments. The exploration will be achieved by combining mobile space visualisation and interview techniques. The car entered the urban arena about a century ago – only very recently in evolutionary terms. Just how deep does automobility run in homo urbanus? The presentation brings together theories on urban space, and raises methodological questions of conducting an effective investigation into the disruption of automobility.

Keywords: Space perception, city cycling, urban transition, transport policy

  1. Urry, J. (2004). The ‘System’ of Automobility. Theory, Culture & Society, 21(4-5), 25-39. doi: 10.1177/0263276404046059
  2. Koglin, T. (2014). Vélomobility and the politics of transport planning. GeoJournal, 80, 569-586. doi: 10.1007/s10708-014-9565-7

Submitted to RGS-IBG Postgraduate Forum Mid-term Conference 2016 (and accepted)

Resultant presentation https://katsdekker.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/rgs-midterm-2016-conference-slides/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s