Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Reclaiming (car) space

Thanks to my good friend and fellow PhD victim scholar Adrian for forwarding the following two items, picked up at the brilliantly named Spinopsys blog. An avid cyclist himself, Adrian added that it was good to make fun of the pious politics of the cycling culture. Though I am a determined car refusenik, I too believe in equal opportunity send-ups! ;)

My blog buddy over in Alabama, Curt, also offers an amusing driving anecdote—you can indeed often tell a lot about a person by their declared car sticker politics!

1. The Pious Politics of Cycling (1:18) (via)

2. Reclaiming Car Space (via, originally at West Virginia Surf Report)

As cars eat up more and more public space, someone has made a nice symbolic point in the photographs below. Our urban landscapes are becoming less human-friendly and more car-congested. It’s reflected in American English in the word ‘sidewalk’, for example, where humans are sidelined and relegated to less and less public space. (In UK and Australian English, we call it ‘foot-path’, but our car cultures are almost as bad). Urban camping, anyone?



9 comments on “Reclaiming (car) space

  1. D. Peace
    14 June, 2007

    I hate cars and this is just another reason why.

    Funny piece, btw.

  2. peoplesgeography
    14 June, 2007

    Thanks, Mister Peace. Your very funny Colin pronunciation piece (among other posts) just had me in stitches, btw.

  3. Dave On Fire
    15 June, 2007

    That car-shaped tent idea is awesome, and middle-lane hoggers are invariably evil. The persistance of car culture generally perplexes me a little (I put it down to our intensely competitive monetary system with more than a little help from influential lobbiers); my Grandad confirms that driving was once fun, but in my experience the phrase “pleasant drive” is a complete oxymoron.

  4. peoplesgeography
    15 June, 2007

    Thanks for the comment, Dave, agreed. The rabid individualism of our economic system (upon which a ‘harmony of interests’ is supposed to be produced in classic liberal theory) reminds me of a traffic analogy I once used in an undergraduate honours IR/ IPE essay.

    Though somewhat tangential, it might be of interest and related to your observation about the globalised monetary system which Susan Strange notably described as casino capitalism. It comes from E H Carr’s classic The Twenty Years Crisis of which I’m sure you’re aware:

    The tacit presupposition of infinitely expanding markets was the foundation on which the supposed harmony of interests rested. As Dr. Mannheim points out, strong traffic control is unnecessary so long as the number of cars does not exceed the comfortable capacity of the road.

    Until that moment arrives, it is easy to believe in a natural harmony of interests between road-users.

    Both in our current car and economic systems, then, it seems that the parameters of regulation (“traffic control”) is governed in part by the sheer scope of users. Just a thought. Might be one to remember for those free market ideologues who argue that the unencumbered market solves absolutely everything.

  5. D. Peace
    15 June, 2007

    Thanks, I appreciate the compliment. I’ll be sure to add you to my blogroll.

  6. peoplesgeography
    15 June, 2007

    Likewise and thanks for the blogroll link.

  7. Dave On Fire
    15 June, 2007

    Yeah, that’s an interesting analogy. But there are very few monetary systems which are guaranteed to grow in scope in the way that fractional reserve banking does.

  8. Servant
    15 June, 2007

    Totally enjoyed the Kleinberg lecture at Adrian’s on Talmud and psychoanalysis. Thank you. Thanks Adrian. It was delicious with my first cup of coffee this morning. That lecture provides _hysterical_ context for the psychosis which is the state Israel – from which the whole world is suffering. Fascinating.

    Until I heard that lecture I thought Jung should get the Golden Chutzpah life time achievement award for convincing the Hebrew God to feel comfortable on the couch in Answer to Job. But after the Kleinberg lecture I’m seriously considering giving the Golden Chutzpah to Freud for suggesting that Moses got his start in folklore as a Jewish projection upon the Egyptian cult of Aten. Best example I’ve seen of applied ressentiment. The slave mentality wants to steal authority shamelessly from the pantheon of the ruling classes but can’t resist patent claims of original thought. Also seems to explain why there has never been anything found in Egyptian arts and letters to corroborate events surrounding the exodus as a verifiable historical event. Wouldn’t you think someone in the Egyptian blogging class would have noticed something that unusual and glyphed something about it?

  9. peoplesgeography
    16 June, 2007

    Golden Chutzpah Award, Egyptian blogger class … :D

    Sophisticated political economy and psychoanalysis extrapolations just from this lighthearted post. I think I should post more of the cheery stuff. ;)

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This entry was posted on 14 June, 2007 by in Cars, Cities, Friends' sites, Hegemon-watch, Humor, Humour, Latin America, Public Transport, Quotes, Urban geography, Video.

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"