Cycling as a form of urban transportation has come a long way in the last 30 years: Due to the tireless efforts of advocacy groups, academics, policy-makers and individuals, cycling holds a much more central position in many policy agendas, with cycling numbers steadily increasing in many nations. Yet, given the scale of contemporary global challenges, the question needs to be asked: where are we trying to get to and are we going in the right direction? If all cities had similar cycling mode-share to Amsterdam or Copenhagen, would this be enough to tackle catastrophic climate change?; is cycling attracting as many people as it could and the people who could benefit from it the most? Arguably it would not and it isn’t, primarily because the variant of cycling brought back into transport planning has been one largely focused on encouraging fast, individual journeys to work and education. Such an approach seeks to maintain unsustainable economic growth as the ultimate goal, and excludes many citizens who arenable or unwilling to participate in this version of cycling. Equally there are many nations in the Global South (and indeed parts of the Global North) where the problem is not enough growth – where does cycling fit in such contexts?
Such an approach seeks to maintain unsustainable economic growth as the ultimate goal, and excludes many citizens who are unable or unwilling to participate in this version of cycling.
With this provocation in mind, CSRG 2022 asks: what role can cycling play in questioning the emphasis on growth, lack of inclusivity, and relative neglect of Global South contexts? Accordingly, we seek submissions from cycling researchers who wish to engage with themes of sufficiency and no/de-growth; social value and its measurement; alternate qualities (e.g beyond speed, efficiency and directness); mobility justice and inclusivity; and post-colonial mobilities. Themes might include but are not limited to:
- What is the evidence base for decoupling of carbon emissions from GDP growth in relation to different cycling scenarios? What does such research tell us about what our goals should be?
- How can we use cycling to question the existing growth paradigm? How does this play out in different geographical and social contexts? What might a de-growth cycling agenda look like? To what extent can a de-growth cycling agenda be applicable in different contexts (towns, cities, regions, nations)?
- What are the “versions” of cycling we envision as more equitable and just?” and what do we need to do collaboratively build them and make sure they are equitable/just? What avenues for change can historical examples and contemporary case studies of cycling (and other practices) highlight?
- What implications does a focus on sufficiency and wellbeing have for cycle infrastructure design: what kinds of routes, designs and methodologies can promote qualities of cycling beyond efficiency, speed and directness? How might alternative infrastructures act as ‘pedagogies’ to encourage different participants, forms and qualities of cycling to emerge?
- What role do new cycling technologies such as public bike share, e-bikes and cargo bikes have in questioning growth and enhancing inclusivity? How sustainable are these forms of cycling when life-spans, resource and energy use, accessibility etc are factored in?
- What can we learn from forms of cycling used mainly for an economic activity (e.g. cycle tourism, delivery and logistics, and sport cycling) where any alternative qualities of cycling we might observe and measure are secondary or disregarded? What impact does de-growth thinking have on the organisation and conduct of such cycling practices? What might alternative versions of these practices look like?
- How can a sufficiency agenda be ‘sold’ to a public deeply attached to automobility and material consumption? Given current antipathy toward (for example) Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) in the UK, what deeper political and social shifts might be required to create the right grounds?
We invite proposals that address any aspect of these themes (and beyond), from historical, current or future perspectives; methodological, empirical, artistic and theoretical contributions are all welcome.
Symposium formats and session submissions
Our aim is that the symposium should provide an open and collaborative platform for critical debate. Accordingly there will be a limited number of paper session slots and we encourage submissions and session formats that pose critical questions and encourage debate, interactivity, collaboration and participation.
When you submit your abstract you should state which of the following formats you wish to submit to, or request and outline an alternative format. We also encourage submission of groups of papers/questions/issues on a particular theme:
- Brain-storming/ fish-bowl session around a particular theme or set of questions*
- Debate/ Q&A/ roleplay around particular issues, contentions and methodologies*
- 15 minute paper presentation with panel/ audience discussion.
- Poster presentation, A1 format poster. There will be a dedicated session for poster presentations which should last about 6 minutes plus question time.(*By way of guidance, more interactive sessions can be for up to 30 participants and last approximately one hour.)
Deadline and submission procedures
Please send abstracts/ session submissions/ poster outlines of 250 words maximum, to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday June 17th 2022. You should include title, corresponding author, institution/ organisation affiliation, and indicate desired session format.