Unfolding the Multiplicity of the ‘Temporal' in the Pursuit of Sustainable Mobility Futures

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 14:35
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Katerina PSARIKIDOU, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
Recent years have witnessed a ‘temporal turn’ in the study and pursuit of sustainability (Reisch, 2001; Rau and Edmorson, 2013; Shove et al, 2009). Research has focused on the environmental impact of various ‘unnatural rhythms’ of everyday living and raised the significance of the ‘temporal’ in not only shaping, but also changing unsustainable living patterns (Adam, 1998; Lefebvre, 2004; Southerton, 2009). This paper aims to contribute to such theoretical and empirical enquiries by investigating the multiple temporalities of urban mobilities that we need to consider for configuring low-carbon futures. Much work on transition studies has focused on the mutually constitutive socio-technical nature of system change, while ignoring the significance of ‘the temporal’ in such developments (Geels and Schot, 2007). This paper aims to contribute to an expanding literature on the role of time and diverse time-cultures in the configuration of low-carbon transitions (Svenstrup, 2013; Rau, 2015; Shove, 2009). Drawing on mobilities research conducted for the Liveable Cities project (see http://liveablecities.org.uk/), it aims to unpack the multiple temporalities of urban mobilities by going beyond a singular understanding of a time ‘monoculture’ (Geissler, 2002; Urry, 1999). By exploring the multiple, both chronological and kairological, calculative and qualitative temporalities (Cipriani, 2013; Szerszynski, 2002) of urban mobilities, it investigates the different dimensions of time (e.g. speed, weather, age, duration, synchronisation, frequency, periodicity, disruption, etc.) and the traditional dichotomies associated with them (e.g. fast/slow, cold/hot, young/old, long/short, empty/full, past/future, day/night, etc.). But, it also attempts to challenge the dominant understandings of such dichotomies by showing the relative perceptions, associations and values that can be attributed to them (e.g. cycling as both slow and fast). In doing so, it proposes to situate the introduction of time-cultural alternatives, and thus, sustainability transitions in the transcendence of various conventional understandings and experiences of time.