Lunchtime Lecture: Car parking in cities: immobility and infrastructure

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Event finished: 12th June 2019

Cars provide us with flexible mobility, freedom, comfort and experience of progress. But these aspects of automobility are based on cars in movement – a partial picture which misses the fact that usually they remain stationary. As such, they are problematic for drivers, create obstacles for people in public places and have to be managed, often at a great cost, as they take up large portion of urban space. So we need to look into the future of Car Parking in Cities.

Looking at parking as a social practice helps to understand it in the context of everyday mobility and production of infrastructure in cities. I want to distinguish parking from driving and see it immobility as it is achieved by people and that requires special set of skills, knowledge and rules. Although rarely seen in this context, parking also relates to a special kind of infrastructure composed not only from car parks and lots, but also temporary or self-made places occupied by vehicles.

The talk will draw on this twofold understanding of parking to show its relevance for everyday experiences of people as well as planning and control of urban spaces. It will discuss its problematic nature and argue that changes in how people practice immobility in cities and create infrastructure are necessary for achieving better urban futures.

Speaker: Karol Kurnicki Institute of Advanced Study, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies University of Warwick