Tuesday, April 22, 2008


After 5 years in the wilderness, I've decided to reconnect with the planning profession. Here is an abstract I've written for an upcoming planning conference (talkfest).

‘I want to ride my bicycle’: urban cycling and planning praxis.

Cycling for transport has widely been celebrated by planning professionals as a key policy objective in creating ‘healthy’ and ‘sustainable’ cities. However, despite much enthusiasm, cycling remains a very marginal mode of transportation, particularly within Sydney, which is regarded as Australia’s most ‘unfriendly’ cycling city. This paper argues that in order to advance the profile of urban cycling, planners need to recognise that cycling is a complex cultural and psychological issue, one that cannot be fixed by simply building more bicycle lanes. Firstly, it is argued that planners need to develop a far more collaborative approach to cycling policy and infrastructure, one that includes a more diverse understanding of different road users and mobility needs. Secondly, it is argued that cycling policies needs to promote a more ‘embodied’ understanding of cycling skills and competencies to engender a cycling ‘habitus’ within communities. Finally, it is argued that to successfully promote cycling for transport, planning students and educators need to be directly engaged in the experiential learning process of riding within urban environments. Effective policy-making can only be achieved with an intimate knowledge of cycling as a practice. Such learning can also facilitate critical perspectives on automobility as a far more malleable cultural norm.

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