polarised sustainable urban transport

Polarised Sustainable Urban Transport Issues

On January 15, the Laboratory of Critical Urbanism of the European Humanities University invites everyone interested in the politics of sustainable urban transport to the webinar “Localised online misinformation: Unpacking the objects and mediums of polarised sustainable urban transport issues in London and the UK” with Scott Rodgers (Birkbeck, University of London).
In the lead up to the coming London Mayoral election (and likely UK General Election), sustainable urban transport policies have become increasingly politicised ‘wedge issues’. Seemingly technical and uncontroversial interventions such as Low-Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), Greater London’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), and ambitions for ‘15-minute cities’ have not only become polarising topics, but also have occasionally been framed within the so-called culture wars, and even made the subject of conspiracy theories. This presentation will argue that understanding these developments means thinking about how different publics form around such urban sustainability interventions. Firstly, this entails attending to how such publics often coalesce around very specific, material interventions and issues; and secondly, it means attending to the mediums through which these publics communicate about issue-based controversies, notably via social media. Scott will explore this with reference to a case study of a proto-LTN controversy: the ‘Mini Holland’ programme in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, which emerged prior to the rapid implementation of several similar initiatives across the UK, largely in response to Covid-19 restrictions. This will be followed by an outline of current collaborative research under development (for which Scott seeks feedback!), intending to study the online dynamics of controversies around LTNs, Greater London’s ULEZ, and 15 minute cities as they coincide with the forthcoming London and UK elections.
Scott Rodgers is Reader in Media and Geography in the School of Creative Arts, Culture and Communication at Birkbeck, University of London. His research specialises in the relationships of media and cities and the geographies of communication. Scott also has broad interests in everyday and professionalised media production practices, urban and local politics, and ethnographic and quali-quant methodologies.
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