Cycling the City: Locating Cycling in the Continued (Re)Structuring of North American Cities
Rick, Oliver James Collard
Andrews, David L
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Bicycling is a growing mobility practice within contemporary U.S. cities that has multiple effects on the formation of the urban as “We are surrounded by cycling” (Horton et al, 2007, p. 1). This project investigates how cycling has shaped the city by analyzing the role that the governance and practice of cycling currently plays in the political, economic, social, spatial, and affective re-formation of the urban. Through the use of a combination of methods, working at various levels of analysis, the aim is to locate the impact of cycling policies and practices on the structural, discursive, and embodied dimensions of contemporary urban (re)structuring. It is an analysis of macro political processes, the formation of cycling communities, and the experiential dimension of riding in the city. Latham & McCormack (2010) state “cities are constantly generating new forms of collective life, novel ways of being together” (p.55). Thus, this project interrogates the various ways in which cycling impacts upon cities, and influences their (re)formation in potentially “historically unprecedented ways” (Wachsmuth et al, 2011, p. 741). Through studying cycling in Boston, Baltimore, and Washington DC this project provides a multi-sited analysis of how cycling is positioned within U.S. cities currently, as well as the complex and diverse processes that inform the contemporary organization of these urban spaces. U.S. cities currently exist within a broad “climate of cuts, austerity and state retrenchment” (Newman, 2013, p. 1) that has defined current patterns of urban governance. I have researched the ways in which cycling has underpinned and simultaneously challenged these broad shifts toward neoliberal governance. Cycling is both drawn into “marketing of urban “culture” and history by entrepreneurial governance” (Cherot and Murray, 2002, p. 432), but also underpins cities as entities that “defy efforts to be classified into types, reduced to essential characteristics, and fixed by boundaries (intellectual or otherwise)” (Prytherch, 2002, p. 772). As such this project investigates this simultaneously overlapping and contradictory impact of cycling on the city, mapping the multiple locations of cycling within the perpetual (re)formation of the urban.