View of the city from Halgrimskeger
In June I was lucky enough to attend the 5th Nordic geographers’ conference at the University of Iceland in the city of Reykjavik.
This was an exciting conference that offered a forum for exchange between groups of people interested in how we might address the long term concerns about the environment, resource use and everyday social practices. The theme of the conference was ‘Responsible geographies’ and so many of the presentations were related to different ways that we might extend thinking around ways to conceptualise responsibility differently. There were a range of impressive presentations that displayed a diverse range of theoretical and methodological perspectives. For just a few examples; time geographies, gendered patterns of mobility, uses of art and sound as methodologies, patterns of migration and geographies of home and belonging, dealing with the effects of economic crises.Keynote speaker Kathy Gibson from the University of Western Sydney gave an inspiring presentation that invited a meshing of ideas from the conference to open up new ways of thinking how we might negotiate our understanding of and relation to the ‘economy’ differently. While many of the presenters drew on theories or empirical case studies rooted in different paradigms there was a real sense of hopefulness that got people talking to each other no matter how different their views. Continue reading
This is the first in a series of posts by AUSCCER authors on mobility and questions of sustainability. In this post, Gordon Waitt and Theresa Harada discuss cars, concepts and experimental methodologies.
Driving in Wollongong
(source: participant #5)
Wollongong is an archetypal Australian regional city in that the car dominates everyday life. The car is integral to its very geography, particularly since the 1960s when its residential population boomed and new suburbs and undercover shopping malls were built away from the old town centre. In Wollongong there is an underpinning assumption that if you are going anywhere, you are going to travel by car. Cycleways do exist. However, they are mostly oriented around leisure activities and thus provide access to places valued for their aesthetics – like beaches or Lake Illawarra – rather than workplaces like the Central Business District. Likewise, there is a train line that dates from the late 1800s and is closely aligned to Wollongong’s coal mining legacy. Hence, the rail infrastructure while connecting Wollongong with Sydney, does not connect many Wollongong suburbs with the city centre. Roads and cars dominate the transport infrastructure rather than train lines, cycleways or even pavements. Car parks are ubiquitous; you find them at the shops, the beach, the university and the steelworks. In Wollongong, people spend a lot of time going places in their cars. Continue reading