Today, Sally Watson, Committee member, presented findings from our NewcastleGateshead assessment at the Cycling & Society symposium in Lancaster. It’s a conference organised by academia, however it also is very welcoming and fosters close contact with cycle advocacy. Sally talked to the conference audience about the Local Plan, NewcastleGateshead’s planning policy. By looking at “push and pull” measures, Sally concentrated particularly on the plans for cycling infrastructure (pull) and car parking (push). She concluded the presentation with useful tips for campaigners and activists, and spoke about how to help shape political debate towards a better city.
Here are the presentation slides:
Abstract: Cycling and Society Symposium
Sally Watson (Newcastle University) and Katja Leyendecker (Northumbria University), both newcycling.org
Suggested slots: Researching cycling or Cycling governance
Title: Probing elusive power structures within a city’s cycling politics
Transport cycling in all its forms (performing, production and politics) is pushing hard against the socio-technical system of automobility, as described by Urry (2004). The spatial turn combined with the need to re-apportion urban space away from the car (Pooley et al, 2013; and Pucher & Buehler, 2012), making the implementation of transport cycling incontestably political. In resistance to automobility, velomobility studies, such as by Koglin (2014), are emerging under the new mobilities model (Sheller et al, 2006) investigating current imbalances and redirecting future trajectories toward a more sustainable society. Our investigation seeks to uncover and dissect the structures of power and politics present in a city that has started a tentative transition away from the private car.
Using Jensen’s staging mobilities framework (Jensen, 2013, page 6), we will begin our examination by looking from ‘above’ and carry out document analysis on transport-related policies for Newcastle upon Tyne. This gives us an understanding of the way highways and public spaces are valued, albeit in a theoretical political plain. The actual practical plain will be evaluated through space observations and interrogation of secondary data sets. Looking from ‘below’ we will assemble a user perspective on the possibilities and needs of space reallocation through interviews and natural observations. Bringing the ‘above’ and ‘below’ together we will discuss what the pressures are that are put on the practices that produce space and the political skills to command a transport transition. In conclusion we will draw on our activist backgrounds to formulate ideas for the decision-making and campaigning processes involved in making Newcastle’s civic society fit for cycling.
1. Jensen, O. B. (2013). Staging mobilities: Routledge.
2. Urry, J. (2004). The ‘System’ of Automobility. Theory, Culture & Society, 21(4-5), 25-39. doi:10.1177/0263276404046059
3. Pucher, J. R., & Buehler, R. (2012). City cycling: MIT Press
4. Pooley, C. G., et al. (2013). Promoting Walking and Cycling : New Perspectives on Sustainable Travel. Bristol: Policy Press
5. Koglin, T. (2014). Vélomobility and the politics of transport planning. GeoJournal, 80, 569-586. doi:10.1007/s10708-014-9565-7
6. Sheller, M., & Urry, J. (2006). The new mobilities paradigm. Environment and Planning A, 38(2), 207-226. doi:10.1068/a37268