Monthly Archives: August 2015

Streets Made By People

In recent years, more and more initiatives try to counter the important role of the car in urban streets. Projects likePARK(ing) Day and Neighborhood in Motion show how the removal of cars affects the urban space and the mindsets and lifestyles of the residents. Ghent has another bottom-up approach where 16 residential streets were transformed into collectively created spaces for no less than 2.5 months.

Streets Made By People — Pop-Up City

via Streets Made By People — Pop-Up City.

A Moscou, rêves de liberté et grand embouteillage

La généralisation rapide de l’automobile après la chute du mur de Berlin a eu raison du réseau routier de la capitale russe. Moscou figure aujourd’hui parmi les villes les plus embouteillées au monde : chaque véhicule y dispose de quatre fois moins d’asphalte que dans les grandes villes occidentales.

A Moscou, rêves de liberté et grand embouteillage, par Hélène Richard (Le Monde diplomatique, août 2015).

The automobile world and the future of space – a cartographic perspective

Strip map showing the road from London to Portsmouth, “actually surveyd and delineated by John Ogilby Esq[ire]: His Ma.ties Cosmographer.” (1675)

What follows is the text of a presentation at the ICHC 2015 in Antwerp, held on July 15th.

For the full text, see: The automobile world and the future of space – a cartographic perspective » Maps and Spaces.

That there exists a dialectical relationship between spatial representations and spatial practices is a familiar idea, which received extensive theoretical development by thinkers as diverse as Henri Lefebvre, Gunar Olsson or Franco Farinelli. My aim is to explore this relationship by focusing on the mutually reinforced development of road maps and of motorized individual transport in the 20th century. Doing so, I also wish to identify tendencies in contemporary mapping practices, which possibly fore- bode the emergence of a post-car world. In North America, Europe and its colonies, automobile maps for the individual driver evolve in the early 20th century, mostly from earlier bicycle maps. The first Soviet maps of the kind emerge after WW2. In the “West”, production and distribution is promoted by private companies, drivers associations and public actors with the aim of stimulating car-related consumption, local tourism, or the sense of national or continental identity. In the first stages of development maps help to make the car usable by identifying the most drivable road segments. Beginning in 1917 Rand McNally (USA) articulates its Auto Trails maps to a system of numbered highways, and is directly involved in the erection of corresponding roadside signs. This process, soon imitated in other countries, contributes to a general transformation of the lived space, in which spatial orientation comes to depend less on architectural and topographic landmarks and more on formalized signs, whose interpreta- bility closely depends on maps. The lived space evolves from landscape into a linear sequence of signs, well incarnated by objects such as the first on-board navigators Iter Avto (Italy, 1930) or Plus Fours Routefinder (UK, 1927). The process also involves a radical generalization of all mapped elements not directly accessible by car, while emphasizing car-related amenities (e.g. Guide Michelin, France, beginning 1900). In parallel – among the professionals of space – the development of zoning schemes in land-use planning intensifies, and at times enforces, the use of the car between large mono-functional areas. From the mid-1980s road maps are increasingly digitized and incorporated as onboard navigation systems, further participating in the ‘automobilization’ of space. Extensive car use allows the commercial development of these systems that, however, also push the frontier of the mappable itineraries while mutating into mobile phone applications. The StreetPilot app for Android and iPhone, for instance, considers public transportation options, such as trains, trams or busses when calculating pedestrian routes. Thus, while cartography has played an important role in making the car usable, it might well play a central role, today, in the evolution of a car-dominated space to a space of multi-modal mobility.

Le temps de la géographie – L’automobile

L’automobile est un objet fascinant pour le géographe : elle structure le territoire et l’urbanisme.

Usines de construction, routes, garages, parkings, péages….Difficile d’ imaginer une monde sans voiture! Et pourtant les géographes réfléchissent au post-car world – le monde après la voiture – comment réutiliser toutes ses infrastructrues liées à l’automobile?

Comment la voiture a transformé la mobilité des Hommes? Et comment nous permet-elle de fabriquer notre géographie intime? Quel sera l’avenir de l’automobile?

par Pauline Dalençon et Patrick Poncet