News & Events

Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar with Nils Stockman (Münster): The city is a stage: Reconstruction of the scales and spaces of EU mobility policies

26 November 2020 , BOZAR, room Errera +1, Koningstraat 10, Brussels, from 12.00h to 13.30h

Abstract of Presentation:

Within the (new) EU commission’s priority to establish the union as a global frontrunner in climate and ecological issues, sustainably transforming the mobility sector arguably plays a pivotal role. Yet, progress in substantially improving the performance of this sector is stalling and leaves EU institutions, member states as well as regional and local authorities with the question how to successfully translate norms of sustainable mobility into (everyday) practice. With instruments such as the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) framework, the EU has placed more and more efforts to cities and urban regions as ‘stages’ of this practice and proposed new modes of governance to facilitate sustainable urban mobility transitions across Europe. But does this change of planning practice automatically involves a changed perception of the city as such? Are individuals in cities differently addressed as agents of change? I argue, that changing the ways of EU policy making also requires to reconsider the imaginative and materialized space in which transitions ought to take place. Therefore, with the idea of cities as real-world stages, building for instance on the work of Marten Hajer, I challenge the formerly fixed scales of EU policy making. I introduce a framework to deconstruct and analyze urban mobility transitions and their relation to EU policy frameworks, asking what norms of mobility are translated to and performed on urban stages. Hereby, my aim is to show whether instruments as the SUMP concept can be perceived as transformative devices for sustainable change or rather benefit the stabilization of already eminent norms of mobility.