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Commonsensical Understandings of Everyday Infrastructures for Cycling in Car Dominated Transport Environments: Rule-Making, Rule-Breaking and Social Justification

Nattrass, Michael Thomas; (2019) Commonsensical Understandings of Everyday Infrastructures for Cycling in Car Dominated Transport Environments: Rule-Making, Rule-Breaking and Social Justification. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Streets are places of transport and much else besides. This infrastructure is not, however, equally available to all. The streets of many cities in the wealthier parts of the world prioritise the movement of motorised traffic. This is a situation widely recognised by transport and urban planners. It also presents challenges if policymakers and others wish to grow the modal share of cycling. The kinds of infrastructure on streets that support high levels of cycling are well-known. The challenge in low-cycling transport environments, like that in most cities in the United Kingdom, is more about building support for these kinds of changes that alter how streets become infrastructure. This requires some understanding of how streets are being used for cycling and how all road users go about making sense of the practical ethics of this use. Empirically and conceptually this demands the development of tools that can attend to these everyday infrastructural practices. This is where ethnographies of infrastructure can help. Thinking ethnographically about cycling in car dominated transport environments involves paying explicit attention to: a) the ways those cycling use street spaces; and b) how all road users discursively go about explaining and justifying the appropriateness of this cycling and its relations to other road users. Using ride-alongs and interviews this thesis reports from a case study in Carlisle, United Kingdom – a city where people rarely cycle, if at all. There are three main conclusions. Firstly, even in car dominated transport environments, streets are spaces for sharing. Second, sharing is defined by rules (formal and informal), obligations and responsibilities. And thirdly, these rules have a commonsensical quality that follows a kind of infrastructural settlement about whose movement is prioritised. Such commonsensical understandings point to how policymakers could go about framing and justifying interventions that make streets more cycle friendly.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Commonsensical Understandings of Everyday Infrastructures for Cycling in Car Dominated Transport Environments: Rule-Making, Rule-Breaking and Social Justification
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10072548
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