‘Slicing through space': mobility, rhythm and the abstraction of modernist transport planning
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Providing for the movement of people and things is an inevitable and increasingly important element of urban governance. Urban life in Australian cities has been physically structured around the private motor vehicle, and transport policies have historically focused on the public funding of large-scale public roadways. There is no better example of this approach to transport planning than in Southeast Queensland, where government departments associated with responsibilities for road infrastructure have traditionally wielded enormous power, and have repeatedly attempted to impose large-scale technological solutions for transport problems without regard for their wider impacts on urban life. Despite an emerging awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions by establishing alternative models of urban mobility, local authorities in Brisbane have recently followed in this well-established tradition by embarking on an ambitious expansion of river crossings and underground road tunnels as a way to increase the capacity of private vehicular flows through the inner city. This article is an exploration of the philosophical framework 'driving' these political decisions and their inevitable imposition of new spatio-temporal laws on Brisbane's inhabitants. Drawing on Henri Lefebvre's account of the relationship between the production of space and social rhythms, it is argued that these transport planning decisions and the way they govern mobility will reproduce the destructive effects of abstraction on both space and the rhythms of the city.
Griffith Law Review
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