Upcoming Events 2015: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference & The Future of Mobilities Conference

We have organized panels at two conferences in September in which we will present the emerging empirical, theoretical and methodological aspects of our project. Please follow our sessions at these two upcoming conferences:

(1) RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Sept 1-4, 2015, University of Exeter 

Link to Conference Website

Session Title: Living in the Mobility Transition

Session Abstract:

This session addresses the future of mobilities taking place around the world. Rather than merely retelling stories of a low-carbon future facilitated by motorized and non-motorized transit systems, the papers envision a more dynamic future comprised not only of bicycles and buses but also of airships and electric vehicles. The papers focus on the national policy context but maintain a scalar approach that avoids methodological nationalism by also honing in on the details that enable a more mobile future. Many policies and initiatives that envision a mobility transition represent a diverse collection of explicit national and grass roots responses to global environmental change and demands for low-carbon living. A closer investigation further reveals that reducing CO2 emissions is not necessarily the primary or the only goal of related policies and projects. Mobility transitions envisioned by governmental agencies, local authorities, think tanks, businesses and activists may be embedded within other kinds of issues and categories of social and political change (e.g. social justice and equality, urban conviviality, resilience, security, aging societies and access). As such, some visions and policies are highly contested while others coalesce from competing interests and imperatives. The papers in this session argue that failing to grasp the entanglement of mobility transition policies into other issues and neglecting the processes of contestation and negotiation will lead to a very limited understanding of the dynamics of development and implementation of policies.

This session welcomes papers that consider the following key questions:

  • How are mobility transitions represented? How are envisioned mobility transitions mobilized in particular representations of the future? In what ways are mobility transitions commodified and aestheticized?

How is the idea of transition articulated in different contexts? Can “transition” always serve as a suitable umbrella term for a variety of conceptualizations of change occurring in thinking about/planning/practicing mobilities?

  • What is the correlation between the interests of stakeholders and the representations of mobility transition/future mobility that they produce?
  • What is the role of supposed successes and failures in envisioning future mobilities? What models of success and failure have become influential? How are “successful models” exported and imported? How are success and failure understood in different contexts?



(2) The Future of Mobilities: Flows, Transport and Communication, Sept 14-17, 2015, Second University of Naples 


Session title: Researching the Futures of Mobilities Across the World: A Workshop

Session Abstract:

It is a very interesting moment in history for mobility scholars: the attention to the influence of CO2 emissions on climate change grows across the world and “greener” ways of moving around are being investigated by engineers and think tanks. Yet this only makes a part of processes whereby interacting, conflicting and overlapping agendas, interests and meanings shape and will continue to shape our mobile lives. Who pushes mobilities transition agendas and for what reasons? Why telework, cycling policies or bus rapid transit schemes succeed or fail in different contexts? What kind of world on the move are key stakeholders across the globe envisioning, developing or resisting and how do we study that: at what scales should we look at, which phenomena should we trace, what kind of pitfalls should we be alert to? How mobility futures are imagined and planned in fourteen countries at this moment in time is the focus of the ongoing project “Living in the Mobility Transition”, carried out by two groups of researchers at Northeastern University, Boston, and Royal Holloway, University of London led by Tim Cresswell and Peter Adey.

The goal of the workshop, organized by the members of the research team is to have a debate on the key themes of the conference through the discussion of the insights from this ongoing research project, to reflect upon the challenges and opportunities that such project entails and exchange ideas with the other researchers in the field who are tackling similar issues.

The interactive workshop consists of two parts. During the first half an hour the chair will briefly introduce the project and five researchers will present snapshots of their work in different parts of the world. These five minute presentations will discuss how mobilities and immobilities are envisioned and governed in a variety of contexts, pose methodological questions and offer reflections on theoretical challenges of studying mobility transitions across the world. Following the round of presentations and questions from the audience, the team will provide questions for discussion that will bridge the project themes with some of the key themes of the conference. Depending on the size of the audience, groups may be organized with presenters acting as discussion moderators. In that case after half an hour discussion, groups will be gathered together and common themes will be distilled.

List of presenters:

  • Cristina Temenos, Northeastern University, Boston. Researching moving targets: Methodological questions on studying transition in action
  • Astrid Wood, Royal Holloway University of London. Thinking about East London Transit
  • Anna Nikolaeva, Royal Holloway University of London. Unpacking the “Happily Ever After” of Cycling Futures
  • Andre Novoa, Northeastern University, Boston. Mobility transitions to a low-carbon society: the Brazilian case
  • Jane Yeonjae Lee, Northeastern University, Boston. Why isn’t Telework working?


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