Adding to discussion started by Gijs Mom and Peter Merriman in Yearbook 6, this text is a plea for scholars to claim a role in the politicization of mobility. Globalization is profoundly upsetting previous mobility practices and raising important questions about democratic, equitable access to mobility. This essay argues that a historic understanding of mobility can shed light onto how representations of different users and modes of transportation affect current political debates. Historical readings remind citizens to be wary of seductive, novel, and high-tech mobility solutions—concepts that have persisted, in a variety of forms, for centuries. Today's “smart mobility” and sustainable development, for all their promise, must be compared to historic trends and weighed against today's low-tech modes of travel that persist in the face of modernity.
June 2013 saw the completion of a project to transform the riverside expressway on the Left Bank of the Seine in Paris into a pedestrian promenade, accompanied by a series of leisure and recreation features. This article critiques that project as a purely cosmetic measure for the prestigious city centre, decrying both its underlying ideology and its unintended consequences, and raising questions concerning the new urban quality of life and the moralization of mobilities.
Peter Norton, Gijs Mom, Liz Millward, Mathieu Flonneau, and Tomás Errázuriz
With volume 4 the T2M Yearbook has graduated from its initial three-year experimental phase. We can now speak of our Yearbook’s history and its traditions—among them relentless pursuit of historiographical reviews about mobility scholarship in countries that too often escape attention elsewhere, unusual thematic reviews that offer new perspectives on historical mobility studies, and more personal, retrospective assessments of the contributions of leading scholars and classic works. The 17 peer-reviewed articles in this year’s Yearbook are faithful to these traditions.