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From 14 November to 27 November 2017

Mobile, immobile: the interplay between man and merchandise

Dynamics of Movement in Argentina’s Sweatshop Economy

Authors : Matias Dewey, Katherine Walker, Sarah Pabst

3D printing: towards a freightless future?

Video with Thomas Birtchnell


Author : Forum Mobile Lives



Transnational Lives: Economies, Bureaucracies, and Desires

Thursday 11 January 2018
Hosted by : Peace Research Institute Oslo
Where : -


Seminar series

Cities and Mobilities: Mobility and social movements

Friday 23 February 2018
Hosted by : Centre for Urban Studies
Where : Roeterseiland campus, Amsterdam University

Southern Diaries

Dynamics of Movement in Argentina’s Sweatshop Economy

Authors : Matias Dewey, Katherine Walker, Sarah Pabst

Three times per week, traffic on the old railway bridge across the Riachuelco in Buenos Aires is dominated by a constant stream of long distance buses. The passengers have traveled hundreds of miles from every corner of Argentina, and from neighboring Paraguay, Brazil and Chile. Unable to afford the plane fare, a one- or two-hour flight turns into ten, twenty, even thirty hours by bus. The bridge, finally, signals the end of their journey: on the other side of the oily, junk-filled river, a huge parking lot welcomes visitors to La Salada, Latin America’s largest low-cost garment marketplace.

Young people's daily mobilities in sub-Saharan Africa

Authors : Gina Porter

Have you ever considered the massive importance that mobility plays in determining young people’s lives and life chances? Given the crucial role of transport, could practitioners’ and policy makers’ interventions in this arena help change young lives for the better?

The motorcycle taxis of Lomé: sounding boards for social and political movements

Since 1992, the motorcycle taxi phenomenon has reached an unprecedented scale in Togolese capital, a city stricken by poverty and important mobility issues. This so-called "informal" mode of urban transportation is a response to the lack of reliable public transportation service, allowing urban dwellers to access services, shops, etc. and thus stay in the city. Beyond questions of travel and transportation, Lomé’s motorcycle taxis have actually created a new type of public space, from which researchers can observe social relations. They are also used by political parties for processions.

New voices

Mobility systems in a context of global warming and natural disasters: toward greater resilience?

Authors : Stephanie Sodero

Through my doctoral research, I examined the links between climate change impacts and everyday mobilities, highlighting ecological considerations within the sphere of mobilities research. The anchoring idea for my project is that transport modes powered by fossil fuels contribute to climate change. I explored how Hurricanes Igor and Juan highlight resilience and vulnerability in contemporary mobility systems.

Car traffic reaches a peak: and now, the beginning of decline?

Authors : Richard Grimal

Since the 2000s, after decades of steady growth, there has been a shift in behavior relative to car ownership and use. This has resulted in a cap on car traffic at the national level (France) in a larger context of decline in car travel in large urban areas, increased use of public transportation, a revival of active modes and the emergence of alternatives to individual car ownership (carpooling, car sharing, car rental between individuals, etc.). How to explain it?

Living a maximum of 30 minutes from work: the hypothesis of a "coherent city"

Video by Jean-Pierre Orfeuil

What measures should be taken to reduce the distance between work and home to a maximum of 30 minutes? What changes should be made? What challenges to overcome? Jean-Pierre Orfeuil, specialist in urban mobility, talks to us about the conclusions of his study which aims to transform the Paris region into a “coherent city.”

A child’s education: the hidden challenge for mobile families

Video by Catherine Doherty

How does mobility affect the urban/rural divide and what are the factors that influence a family’s decision to be more or less mobile? Catherine Doherty, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology, discusses two recent studies that shed new light on both these issues.

The general trend towards liberal logics and neoliberal logics in transition policy

Video by Peter Adey

According to Peter Adey, there is a general trend towards liberal and neoliberal logics in transition policy. An emphasis is being placed on trying to shift the responsibility to individuals and on market-based solutions that can be exported elsewhere.

Thinking the future of car mobility

Video by Kate G. Reese

Automobility is a cornerstone of American life. But what are its future prospects in an era of climate change and depleting natural resources? America is at a crossroad between acceleration, rebuilding and transition, explains Kate Reese.

Transitioning toward low-carbon mobility: a holistic approach to transition policy

Video by Tim Cresswell

Dwindling oil reserves and massive greenhouse gas emissions from transport have led Tim Cresswell, head of the Living in the mobility transition research project, and his team on a worldwide search for policies and practices that could help spur the transition toward a low-carbon future. Here he shares some early insights from the project on the way forward for a mobility transition.

Mobility, motility: What determines our ability to move?

Video by Vincent Kaufmann

Defining mobility involves both understanding the connection between movement and social change and determining what factors influence our skills for moving through the concept of motility. Vincent Kaufmann brings us up to speed.

Online purchase and trip reduction: what effects in urban and peri-urban areas?

Video by Frédéric De Coninck

How online purchases differ between urban and peri-urban areas? Do they allow to reduce our movements and their carbon footprint? Frédéric de Coninck, currently Coordinator of the LABEX Urban Futures (Laboratoire d’Excellence Futurs Urbains), uniting the research forces on the city of Paris-Est university exposes the results of two surveys conducted in 2007 and 2012.

For society and technology, the future is hybrid

Video by Mimi Sheller

Cars are not alone in becoming hybrids in modern cities, according to Mimi Sheller. There is a far broader hybrid future that encompasses technology, town planning and the way individuals are increasingly using social networks on the move.

What is the Mobile Lives Forum ?

Video by Forum Vies Mobiles

Mobile Lives Forum's video presentation

Mobility and climate: a need for action

Video by Kevin Anderson

From the movement of people to the transport of freight, mobility is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore a contributor to climate change. Professor Kevin Anderson assesses where we stand today and the prospects for the future of our mobility.

Changing practices: a key role for temporality and spatiatlity - James Faulconbridge

Video by James Faulconbridge

Governments around the world are looking at ways of encouraging people to walk, cycle or use public transport, rather than to drive. James Faulconbridge of Lancaster University talks about new research that suggests temporal and spatial issues also need to be considered.

Evacuation: a crucial type of mobility

Video by Peter Adey

Peter Adey is a professor of Geography at the Royal Holloway University of London. His work lies at the intersection between space, security and mobility. According to him, mobilities of evacuation are crucial and deserve more scrutiny.

Is mobility the answer to poverty ?

Crossed perspectives by Leslie Belton Chevallier and Giulio Mattioli

Is access to employment, services and leisure merely a matter of mobility for the most disadvantaged? What are the obstacles and alternatives? These are some of the questions Leslie Belton Chevallier and Giuilio Mattioli attempt to answer.

Motility and viscosity: a new understanding of mobility for better policy making

Crossed perspectives by Vincent Kaufmann and Catherine Doherty

Through the study of mobility practices in Australia and European countries, sociologists Catherine Doherty and Vincent Kaufmann develop two different but complementary analyses of mobility potential on an individual and contextual level. Will these new concepts help further our understanding of mobility practices and renew public action in very different national contexts? Both authors feel this will be the case and explain why.

Questioning art and social science crossovers

Crossed perspectives by Ursula Biemann and Valérie Pihet

Valérie Pihet and Ursula Biemann discuss the crossovers between artistic creation and scholarly research in the field of mobility. Either working together, or in parallel, these two disciplines have a significant contribution to make in terms of the public debate.

Changing behaviour for a low-carbon future

Crossed perspectives by Matt Watson and Frédéric De Coninck

British geographer Matt Watson and French sociologist Frédérick De Coninck discuss the role of practices in reducing our carbon footprint. Can taking into account people’s daily constraints more seriously be the key to developing more effective policies and hastening the transition towards low-carbon mobility?

Internet, territories and centralities

Crossed perspectives by Benjamin Bayart and Boris Beaude

Boris Beaude, a geographer, and Benjamin Bayart, an engineer and ardent supporter of freedom of expression, discuss the tensions that have arisen concerning the internet, the main platform for virtual mobility. Designed as something without a centre, which could not be fully controlled and would free people from regional limitations, the internet seems unable to deliver on these promises – as a result of pre-existing constraints.

The future of cars: triumph or decline?

Controversie between Francis Papon , Mathieu Flonneau

Over the last decade, the future of cars has been at the heart of controversy that has been the subject of numerous prospective studies. This controversy is not about the need for an energy transition – whose advent is no longer a subject of debate - but more about the role of cars in the future. Should the use of cars be called into question? What policies should be implemented? What should the role of cars be?

Living environments and leisure mobility: challenging the compact city

Controversie between Sébastien Munafò, Marc Pearce (Forum Vies Mobiles)

Should we advocate for the compact city? Geographer Sébastien Munafò defends the indispensability of this model, particularly for its environmental qualities and the urbanity it fosters. Marc Pearce of the Mobile Lives Forum, on the other hand, feels it is crucial to consider, instead, many lifestyles in presence in city areas such as Geneva or Zurich and the diversity of living environments they require.

Multi-Level Perspective and Theories of Practice: a mistaken controversy?

Controversie between Dale Southerton, Matt Watson

In the thriving field of sustainability transitions, an interesting discussion has flourished about the merits of and relationship between two analytical approaches, known as multi-level models of innovation and theories of social practice.

What metropolitan transport for Los Angeles?

Controversie between Lucile Waquet, Jean Leveugle

What transportation policy to develop in a sprawling, segregated city like Los Angeles? What place to give the car? Is it better to favor the subway network or the bus network? And why – economic reasons (competitiveness, employment, etc.), environmental reasons (reducing pollution and fossil resources consumption) and/or social reasons (the fight against social and racial inequality)?

Mobile Lives Forum meetings

Virtuous mobility: the advantages of the dense city challenged?

The dense city is often lauded as a sustainable and desirable model, particularly given its limiting effect on travel and CO2 emissions and its positive impact on social ties. At the same time, as “barbecue effect” theorists have shown, when we consider the number of kilometers travelled within the framework of long-distance mobility, the mobility of people living outside of cities is, in fact, equal to that of inhabitants of city centers. Is one city model really more virtuous than another? What model do people want? What living environments for tomorrow’s lifestyles?

Conférence du Forum

Lifestyle and Mobility : what aspirations for the future ?

Our lifestyles must greatly change in the future in order to be sustainable, but how to make them desirable? To answer this question, the Forum Vies Mobiles launched an unprecedented international survey on aspirations linked to future lifestyles and mobility. The survey explores pace of life, travel conditions and frequency, work location and duration, ties with family and potential changes due to environmental degradation. The Forum revealed the key results in a conference on June 21, 2016, in Company of Philippe Moati, co-founder of ObSoCo, and film critic, Xavier Leherpeur.

Mobile Lives Forum meetings

Making of identities and movement control in transit places

After a 2015 that challenged our mobility systems (terrorist attacks, refugee crisis, COP 21, etc.), the Mobile Lives Forum proposes exploring the question further by looking at one of the key emblems of movement in our society: transit areas. How do they work? What role do they play? How will they be affected by contemporary security, political, social and environmental challenges? Tim Cresswell, mobility theorist and professor at Northeastern University in Boston, and Mikaël Lemarchand, Eurostar station manager, answer these questions.


Videos: sustainable mobilities in peri-urban areas?

This Meeting saught to question the image of peri-urban areas as unlivable unbearable and without qualities or urbanness. Researchers, professionals and artists defended their views of the different lifestyles these areas give birth to and potential they offer in terms of sustainable mobility. The audience was invited to actively participate in the discussion.

You can now watch (again) the two days of the Meetings – or thirty videos displaying the speeches, discussions and debates which occured between practitioners, researchers and artists from the entire world, questioning the conventional wisdom about peri-urban areas.


The Thrill of Rail

Literature is, among other things, a source of knowledge, so we looked to two French-language writers for whom the train is an essential part of their storytelling, and staged readings from their novels. Also taking part in the evening were a writer and critic, academics and SNCF professionals. All these points of view helped to broaden our understanding of railroad mobility.

Mobile Lives Forum meetings

Sustainable mobilities in peri-urban areas?

This Meeting sought to question the image of peri-urban areas as unliveable, unbearable and without qualities or urbanness. Researchers, professionals and artists defended their views of the different lifestyles these areas give birth to and potential they offer in terms of sustainable mobility. The audience has been invited to actively participate in the discussion.

> Please clic here to view the meeting's vidéo.

Maison Rouge : 10 Boulevard de la Bastille,  75012, Paris


The Mobility of Tomorrow: Theses and controversies

May 26th & 27th, 2011

at the Maison Rouge (Paris-Bastille)


with 110 mobility scholars and practitioners



These first “Theses and Controversies” were also the occasion for an exhibition of books by artists and photographers whose work is founded on mobile artistic processes.

Ending automobile dependence (periruban and rural mobility)

Research participants : Marie Huyghe, Laurent Cailly, Dominique Andrieu, Hervé Baptiste, Nicolas Oppenchaim, Hervé Baptiste, Denis Martouzet

Data sharing is a key to consolidating scientific methods and knowledge, and notably feeds discussion across opposing viewpoints. However, it is a nascent practice in qualitative research. A team from the Centre for Cities, Territories, Environment and Societies (CITERES) are paving the way with a project to reopen six qualitative studies conducted in peri-urban and rural areas. The project has three objectives: establish a methodological framework to mutualize qualitative data, define the requirements to share data, and provide a renewed analysis. The challenge: gain a better understanding of mobility in sparsely populated areas and identify pathways to ending car dependence.

Connected Refugees

Research participants : 艾未未 (Ai Weiwei)

Since December 2015, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has made the refugee crisis the focus of his work. For more than a year, the artist, commissioned by the Mobile Lives Forum, studied the way they communicate, orient themselves and move using smartphones, which for many has become their most valuable tool for survival. In the virtual exhibition Connected refugees (available on Artistic Lab), you can follow Ai Weiwei and mobility sociologist Mimi Sheller’s art-social science investigation month by month.

Bioregion Ile-de-France 2050

Research participants : Yves Cochet , Agnès Sinaï, Benoît Thévard

As part of the project Bioregion Ile-de-France, the Institut Momentum will explore the hypothesis of an end of the Anthropocene in the Ile-de-France, in rupture with our current lifestyles.

Post-Car Ile-de-France

Research participants : Arnaud Banos , Sandrine Berroir, Hadrien Commenges, Jean Debrie, Juliette Maulat, Student workshop in urban planning

As a part of the two-year project Post-Car Ile-de-France, researchers from the laboratory Géographie-Cités will explore the hypothesis of a transition towards lifestyles that depend less on the use of personal vehicles.

Last comments

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Long hours spent traveling to and from work are subtly changing the way people experience, feel, apprehend and live their lives, especially in a …

"How Commuting is Changing Who We Are",

Long hours spent traveling to and from work are subtly changing the way people experience, feel, apprehend and live their lives, especially in a …