The 2016 AAG Annual Meeting will take place in San Francisco from March 29th to April 2nd, 2016
This CIST session is organised by France Guérin-Pace (Ined, CIST, Paris) and Paulina Lopez-Gutierrez (University Paris 1, Ined)
Keywords: soft mobilities, urban policies, actorness, inclusive cities, urban inequalities, representations
The promotion of walking, and of soft mobilities more widely, in contemporary urban public policies is a key objective for developing more sustainable cities.
These policies aim mainly at reducing environmental pollution as part of the effort to limit climate change, but they also have an explicit discourse on access to fairer or more inclusive cities.
What is the reality behind these policies which are taking shape in various urban, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts?
Based on concrete examples, how do these policies participate in the construction of fairer cities or, on the contrary, contribute to the strengthening of inequalities?
These are the questions we shall seek to address in this session by inviting participants to explore this theme from several different angles:
– The discourse of urban policy actors. Analyzing the broad array of actors involved in the implementation of public policies reveals very different representations of the public place, and multiple issues of power.
We will examine who are the actors involved in implementing urban policies in favor of soft mobilities, how they express themselves in official discourse, and what arguments they employ to promote such mobilities.
– How individual practices are inscribed in space? Analyzing how these soft mobilities take practical form in the daily practices of the urban space raises questions about the extent to which the actors’ discourse reflects inhabitants real needs.
The way in which soft mobilities are integrated into the fabric of the city can reveal inequalities of access that may strengthen rather that alleviate existing inequalities in terms of transport.
We will also take an interest in the strategies that may be used by individuals to circumvent and overcome various difficulties and constraints (lack of facilities and difficulty in accessing goods and services, inadequate transport provision, regulations governing usage, etc.).
– The exclusive dimension of soft mobility policies. Despite the objective of making cities more inclusive, we observe that in certain urban contexts the implementation of soft mobility policies involves a form of privatization of public place and results in enhancement
of certain places to the detriment of others, an outcome that runs contrary to the goal of social opening that underpins those policies. The development of urban facilities (pedestrian streets, cycle lanes, etc.)
sometimes competes with previous uses of the urban space that are now considered incompatible. We thus observe that the legitimacy of users is sometimes undermined, on the basis of varied characteristics,
such as gender, age or socioeconomic status, or specific forms of usage such as informal businesses and settlements.