Mobilities Design: On the way through unheeded Mobilities spaces

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Mobilities comprise a large part of our world and everyday lives, and the mobilities spaces in which we travel are ubiquitous. Yet, ordinary mobilities spaces – such as parking lots, pedestrian tunnels, and road lay-bys – tend to be criticized as typologies that lack consideration for the people who use them and for their wider social, aesthetic, cultural, and ecological agency in the city. This is clearly not an unambiguous characterization. But from it follows an urgency to re-examine unheeded mobilities spaces and extend demands of their agency beyond standards of technical efficiency. This article draws on the recent “mobilities turn” in social science to support such re-examination of mobilities spaces. In social-scientific mobilities research, mobilities are considered the departure point for understanding the socio-material world in which we live. Mobilities are regarded as far more than utilitarian transport from A to B; they constitute a rich societal phenomenon with, for example, social, cultural, sensorial, emotional, and material dimensions. The article proposes two fruitful links between the mobilities turn and the designerly examination of mobilities spaces. First, the mobilities turn is a relevant field of knowledge for urban design, because of its focus on a nuanced conceptualization of the daily journeys that we all undertake in mobilities spaces. Second, the mobilities turn aids a theoretical “mobilization” of the design of mobilities spaces with a point of departure in a fused theory field with particular attention to actor-network theory (ANT), which offers tools to understand the embeddedness of mobilities spaces in hybrid and dynamic relationships.
Through these linkages between the mobilities turn and urban design, the article suggests a pathway for a carefully radical rethinking of mobilities spaces as open socio-material hybrids in the midst of fluid and diverse mobilities. This rethinking seeks to invigorate the hybrid quality of mobilities spaces as they are both social and technical, society and transport, human and material at the same time. In doing so it calls for urban designers and architects to address mobilities spaces in relation not only to technical demands, but also to the wide host of social, cultural, political, economic, and affective formations in which they are embedded and which they influence.
Antal sider15
ForlagNordic Academic Press of Architectural Research
ISBN (Trykt)978-91-983797-1-6
StatusUdgivet - 2017
BegivenhedNAF Symposium 2015: Urban Mobility – Architectures, Geographies and Social Space - Urban Studies, Faculty of Culture and Society at Malmö University, Malmö, Sverige
Varighed: 5 nov. 20156 nov. 2015


KonferenceNAF Symposium 2015
LokationUrban Studies, Faculty of Culture and Society at Malmö University
NavnNordic Journal of Architectural Research

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