Urban Mobility, Wellbeing and Inequality

On Thursday 6 June I will give a keynote lecture at the 15th NECTAR conference with the theme ‘Towards Human Scale Cities — Open and Happy’ in Helsinki.

I will use this opportunity to reflect on the burgeoning literature on travel behaviour and wellbeing in transport studies and argue that this literature can benefit from broadening its concepts of wellbeing to also consider questions of inequality and justice. I will elaborate an expanded version of Amartya Sen’s capability approach that considers
the relational, emergent and experiential nature of capabilities as they relate everyday mobility. Empirically, the talk will utilise empirical research about cycling and walking in São Paulo and London to illustrate salient aspects of the interrelations between wellbeing and travel behaviour. One insight emerging from this manner of thinking is that wellbeing cannot be understood as inhering in individuals but rather is an always-emergent quality of shifting configurations of humans and all kinds of other urban elements.

The empirical materials on which the talk draws have been collected as part of the ESRC funded DePICT project.

 

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