Practices of car parking and the infrastructure of immobility
Karol Kurnicki, Institute of Advanced Study, Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick, email@example.com, @karol_kurnicki
CeMoRe Seminar, 12th November 2019, Bowland North B67
My current project analyses practices of car parking in the context of everyday (im)mobility and infrastructure production in three European cities (London, Warsaw and Utrecht).
In the presentation I will build on the findings from ongoing fieldwork to show the intersection between people’s everyday (im)mobility and production of infrastructure.
I will argue that looking at parking from the perspective of infrastructure is productive in several ways. Firstly, it shows materialization of practice as occurring in the interaction between people and objects (cars), objects of (im)mobility (cars) and objects (cars) with their surroundings (parking spaces and other material elements, such as signs, kerbs, bollards, barriers). Secondly, it helps to rethink characteristics of urban infrastructure that differ from established conceptualisations that characterise it through invisibility, obduracy, connectivity or extensivity. Thirdly, it problematizes infrastructuring as a process that takes place not only in formal, systematic manner but also through daily activity of people. Simply put, when people park, they produce infrastructure, quite often only for a time and in places where no plan existed for it otherwise. Analysing parking can bring new ways of understanding how urban infrastructures are being composed from different (material and immaterial) elements by a variety of actors – from administration and service providers to regular drivers.
Against this backdrop I will also reflect on car parking as a peculiar social practice that adds nuance to the understanding of socio-material relations and dispersed agency in everyday activities. As such it problematizes existing definitions and poses questions to our understanding of human and non-human (im)mobility.