Body-city-machines: Human infrastructure for bicycling in Los Angeles.

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As the global population shifts toward urban dwelling, everyday practices in cities take on new meanings, and human-scale transport modes such as bicycling gain new urgency in light of climate change. At the same time, the production of knowledge in urbanization tends to leave culture aside in favor of a spatial determinism where infrastructure is endowed with the agency to produce desired bodies. This dissertation develops urban ethnography's concept of "human infrastructure" through analyzing relationships between the embodied social practices and political activism of bicycle users in urban Los Angeles. Part of a larger global trend toward bicycle urbanism, advocates in L.A. looked to the expert knowledge of urban planning to make a case to policymakers about the need for bicycle infrastructure. Making their case involved attempting to disembody their own tacit knowledge. As a participant in bike advocacy networks, I developed the alternative concept of "situated cosmopolitanism," where experiences of hybridity recognized in feminist discourses about situated knowledge challenge the hard/soft city divide between experts and users. Connecting the racialized landscapes produced through power in California since 1769 with ethnographic engagement at a phenomenal scale on a bicycle sheds light on the production of difference through mobility practices in the region. Situating the discussion of bike planning within this historical context, I argue that gentrification can be defined by the transformation of cultural capital generated by mobile assemblages, or "body-city-machines," into economic value. This dissertation contributes to a growing field of inquiry regarding the role of social and cultural life in promoting, prohibiting, and structuring urban transport cycling. Because urban cycling is a growing phenomenon, the dissertation also chronicles the effects that social life can have on policy interventions in urban space. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Climate Change
  • Human Body
  • Human Migration
  • Urban Environments
  • advocacy networks
  • alternative concept
  • bicycle infrastructure
  • bicycle urbanism
  • bicycle users
  • bike planning
  • climate change
  • cultural capital
  • cultural life
  • desired bodies
  • economic value
  • embodied social practices
  • ethnographic engagement
  • everyday practices

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  • Adonia E Lugo

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