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Moving targets: Mobilities, sustainability and space on Vancouver’s streets

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This project explores the politics of mobility in Vancouver, as expressed through debate over the allocation, configuration and use of street space. Using a mobilities framework to explore the social relationships embodied within these choices about the allocation of physical movement of people within cities, this research consists of two in-depth case studies of commercial streets in Vancouver that have been the subject of recent neighbourhood plans. The project uses multiple qualitative methods, including document analysis, in-depth interviews and contextual observation, to locate a complex and sometimes contradictory discourse around mobility policies in Vancouver. Sustainability targets that rhetorically call for a reduction in automobile use are not realized in the actual interventions made to street space; instead, more symbolic measures are pursued that leave the social relationships of auto mobility unchallenged. A deliberate re politicization of mobility spaces is required to achieve a more intentional, sustainability and equity-focused distribution of urban mobility.
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