Tension between Fast and Slow Mobilities

Examining the Infrastructuring Processes in Brussels (1950–2019) through the Lens of Social Imaginaries

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Claire Pelgrims Research Fellow, Laboratory on Landscape Urbanism, Infrastructures and Ecologies, Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium claire.pelgrims@ulb.be

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This article analyzes the dialectic of fast and slow mobilities as a continuous tension, since the mid-twentieth century, characterized by three evolutions of the functional, phenomenological, and social dimensions of mobility infrastructure and practices in Brussels, Belgium. It is based on the content analysis of diverse “embodiments” of social imaginaries: mobility infrastructures, narratives and sensory-motor behaviors, and images, movies, and photographs. It casts light on the great triple evolution of (1) the scale of the designed city; (2) the limits between spaces devoted to speed, slowness, and overlaps; and (3) the promoted aesthetics in terms of atmospheres and urban experience. These developments strongly relate to the changing meaning of slow and fast mobilities and to a broader change in the societal relationship to space and time.

Contributor Notes

Claire Pelgrims holds a PhD in Architecture and Urbanism from the Université libre de Bruxelles, where she is F.R.S.-FNRS Research Fellow at the Laboratory on Landscape, Urbanism, Infrastructures and Ecologies. Her PhD research focused on the evolution of mobility infrastructures in Brussels since the mid-twentieth century. ORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2750-1641. Email: claire.pelgrims@ulb.be

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies