Special Issue "Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Henrike Rau
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, LMU Munich, 80333 Munich, Germany
Interests: social-scientific sustainability research; mobility across the life course; research methods
Prof. Dr. Joachim Scheiner
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Transport Planning, Faculty of Spatial Planning, Technische Universität Dortmund, 44227 Dortmund, Germany
Interests: mobility and travel behavior; transport and social change; research methods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The concept of sustainable mobility, that is, people moving in ways that are socially just, environmentally responsible, and economically viable, has gained considerable currency in research, policy, and public life. Due to the complexity of sustainability more generally, and sustainable mobility in particular, the limitations of more narrow disciplinary inquiries have become apparent, resulting in calls for greater interdisciplinarity. However, the scope and nature of interdisciplinary mobility research remains the subject of intense debate, especially regarding the level of cross-disciplinary integration and the methodological choices required. Given the dominance to date of quantitative methodologies in transport and mobility studies, the latter issue seems particularly pertinent. The planned Special Issue of Sustainability titled ‘Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches’ intends to capture current trends in interdisciplinary mobility research, focusing in particular on methodological innovation and recent advances in bringing together researchers from different disciplines. We are particularly interested in contributions that adopt a critical perspective on disciplinary divisions in mobility research and that explicitly address interdisciplinarity and cross-disciplinary integration in relation to one or more of the following topics:

  • Innovative efforts towards interdisciplinarity and deep cross-disciplinary integration beyond multidisciplinarity, especially between social science and technical and natural science disciplines, as well as within these disciplinary fields
  • Multi-method approaches to mobility research that explicitly seek to integrate qualitative and quantitative methods of inquiry
  • Longitudinal and biographical research that considers trends over time, including changes in people’s mobility practices across the life course
  • Behavior change studies that focus explicitly on transport policy initiatives and their effects on mobility

Prof. Dr. Henrike Rau
Prof. Dr. Joachim Scheiner
Guest Editors

Abstracts of 400 words: 20 December 2018

Please email your abstract as Word document to: [email protected]

NB: We kindly ask contributors to use ‘Abstract for Sustainable Mobility special issue’ as subject line in their submission email.

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Cross-disciplinary integration
  • Mobility
  • Mobility biographies
  • Multi-method research

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Understanding Daily Mobility Strategies through Ethnographic, Time Use, and Social Network Lenses
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010312 - 31 Dec 2019
Abstract
The development of sustainable transport and mobility systems for the future will not only need more efficient, less contaminating, and technologically enhanced systems, information, and infrastructures; it will also require a transition to new forms of living and modification of contemporary forms of [...] Read more.
The development of sustainable transport and mobility systems for the future will not only need more efficient, less contaminating, and technologically enhanced systems, information, and infrastructures; it will also require a transition to new forms of living and modification of contemporary forms of mobility and immobility. This challenge will undoubtedly require an understanding of past and present modes of living in order to disentangle the complexity of contemporary life and pinpoint the implications of new forms of sustainable mobility. Given that new systems, information, materialities, and infrastructures affect people differently, it is vital that preparations be made for the potentially uneven implications of introducing new mobility assemblages, particularly for countries in the global South where sustainability in transport and mobility systems are crucial to overcoming persistent inequalities. An important step in this direction is to understand the current mobility strategies that people employ on a daily basis. This paper addresses these mobility strategies through the lenses of ethnography, time use, and social networks. It does so by identifying new dimensions revealed by the different methods which together present the true diversity of mobility strategies. A case study based on research carried out in Concepción, Chile, illustrates how these tools are combined to reveal the complex decision-making involved in contemporary everyday life. The paper recognizes limitations in terms of data gathering tools, timings, epistemologies, languages, and forms of representation of our work, and challenging proposals for future research are put forward. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
What is Interdisciplinarity in Practice? Critical Reflections on Doing Mobility Research in an Intended Interdisciplinary Doctoral Research Group
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010197 - 25 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Lately, there has been a tendency in academia to call for more interdisciplinary research on sustainable mobility. However, there is a lack of empirical research on practiced interdisciplinarity. This paper seeks to address this by exploring the practices of an intended interdisciplinary doctoral [...] Read more.
Lately, there has been a tendency in academia to call for more interdisciplinary research on sustainable mobility. However, there is a lack of empirical research on practiced interdisciplinarity. This paper seeks to address this by exploring the practices of an intended interdisciplinary doctoral research group. Specifically, it presents the study of a collaborative autoethnography using individual vignettes and qualitative data analysis. The results classify the identified interdisciplinary practices into three main categories: Interactions, productive processes, and negotiation processes, where interactions serve as a carrier for negotiation and productive processes. This also uncovers advantages and challenges associated with these interactions. Furthermore, the analysis reveals intersubjectivity as an important component of the infrastructure of interdisciplinarity involved in both processes. Finally, we call for a reevaluation of the hierarchical thinking about the different levels of interdisciplinarity, going from disciplinary to multidisciplinary to interdisciplinary to transdisciplinary research. We conclude that for interdisciplinarity to happen in practice, it requires having a combination of various disciplines, ontologies, and a common “wicked” problem to solve. We also find that developing an interdisciplinary research environment requires researchers to embark on a shared journey of reaching a higher level of intersubjectivity through continuous interactions and discussions, while also negotiating conflicts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
An Inter- and Transdisciplinary Approach to Developing and Testing a New Sustainable Mobility System
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7223; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247223 - 16 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Sustainability research is frequently tasked with the development of concrete solutions that can be directly applied to socio-environmental problems as such this paper presents and discusses an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to developing and testing a mobility-on-demand-system in a “real world laboratory” set [...] Read more.
Sustainability research is frequently tasked with the development of concrete solutions that can be directly applied to socio-environmental problems as such this paper presents and discusses an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to developing and testing a mobility-on-demand-system in a “real world laboratory” set up in Schorndorf, Germany. This paper addresses the following questions: (1) How can stakeholders be involved in the research and development process and become co-designers? (2) What are the suitable ways of supporting and facilitating interdisciplinary exchange and joint work at different places? The main contribution of this paper is the description of a methodological approach. It thereby reflects on the process of inter- and transdisciplinary work in the development phase and pilot operation. In addition, a joint working document, a so called “Specification Book”, is utilized to facilitate teamwork and enable the exchange of scientific knowledge within the team. The experiences in the project are also reflected upon and specific recommendations are determined. The paper further reflects on the possibilities and challenges of the methodology and provides recommendations for its application. The originality of the paper lies in its description and reflection of a method that goes beyond the participation of users in the design phase of the project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
Coworking, a Way to Achieve Sustainable Mobility? Designing an Interdisciplinary Research Project
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7161; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247161 - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Sustainable mobility has been one of the central paradigms of research in the field of transport and mobility for several decades. However, the implications of adopting the concept of “sustainable mobility” for the conduct of interdisciplinary research has been little discussed within the [...] Read more.
Sustainable mobility has been one of the central paradigms of research in the field of transport and mobility for several decades. However, the implications of adopting the concept of “sustainable mobility” for the conduct of interdisciplinary research has been little discussed within the relevant research community. Research in the field of transport and mobility has nevertheless been the setting for major debates in recent years on the question of interdisciplinarity, or even transdisciplinarity, with the emergence of mobility studies as opposed to transportation studies. The objective of this paper is to show, empirically, how researchers who are specialised in mobility and transport issues, but who belong to different disciplines (anthropology, computer science, economics, geomatics, sociology and urban planning) have sought to build an interdisciplinary research project—which is currently ongoing—around the links between the development of coworking, which is a new way of organising work, mobility and sustainability. This paper sets out to highlight cross-fertilisation between disciplines, the issues raised, and the difficulties encountered. As such, it provides an account that is as faithful as possible to our experience of conducting interdisciplinary research in the area of sustainable mobility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
Open AccessArticle
Car Use: Intentional, Habitual, or Both? Insights from Anscombe and the Mobility Biography Literature
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7122; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247122 - 12 Dec 2019
Abstract
Policy-makers have recognized that changing travel behavior is important. People, however, do not change their behavior so readily, particularly the use of the car. A central concept that has been invoked to account for this has been the concept of habit. However, various [...] Read more.
Policy-makers have recognized that changing travel behavior is important. People, however, do not change their behavior so readily, particularly the use of the car. A central concept that has been invoked to account for this has been the concept of habit. However, various studies also present people as having concrete reasons for driving: Their choices are intentional. This interdisciplinary study attempts to reconcile these two understandings of travel behavior by drawing on insights from the philosopher Anscombe and a growing body of travel research termed the mobility biography literature. It applies some of Anscombe’s insights from Intention to the act of driving. With regard to the mobility biography literature, it draws out conceptual implications both from theoretical and empirical aspects: In particular, the characterization of travel decisions as nested in a hierarchy of life decisions and the association of life events with changes in travel decisions. It concludes that a broader conceptualization of human behavior leads to a broader view as to what policy-makers can do. It reminds us that transport is ‘special’, that transport and policy are inextricable, and that the importance of infrastructure provision should not be ignored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
Open AccessArticle
The Holistic Approach to Urban Mobility Planning with a Modified Focus Group, SWOT, and Fuzzy Analytical Hierarchical Process
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6599; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236599 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The urban mobility system is an important factor in social development and must, therefore, be tackled in a way that enables balanced, sustainable development. The purpose of the present work was to introduce a new holistic approach to urban mobility system (UMS) planning, [...] Read more.
The urban mobility system is an important factor in social development and must, therefore, be tackled in a way that enables balanced, sustainable development. The purpose of the present work was to introduce a new holistic approach to urban mobility system (UMS) planning, which involves a strategic decision-making process with a broad involvement of various stakeholders. For this purpose, an innovative model was created by synthesizing the focus group (FG) method with the nominal group technique (NGT), SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis, and the fuzzy analytical hierarchical process (FAHP) method. The fuzzy approach was chosen for its ability to incorporate imprecise and vague information and make a decision-making UMS process more realistic. Accordingly, the objective of the paper was to propose a newly developed model that will (considering the integration of various urban mobility subsystems) enable the detection, identification, and ranking of key priorities required for a more holistic approach to UMS planning. The results revealed that the developed integrated model enables acquired areas to be ranked according to priorities, which further allows the development of scenarios. Moreover, the model allows a better understanding of how to search for compromises when one is faced with multi-criteria decision-making and coordination of frequently contradictory goals. A new integrated urban mobility model, as proposed herein, was also successfully tested in a real-life application, which proves its potential for use in sustainable urban mobility planning in a holistic way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Enablers and Barriers for Public Bike Share System Adoption using Social Media and Statistical Models
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6259; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226259 - 07 Nov 2019
Abstract
Public bike share (PBS) systems are meant to be a sustainable urban mobility solution in areas where different travel options and the practice of active transport modes can diminish the need on the vehicle and decrease greenhouse gas emission. Although PBS systems have [...] Read more.
Public bike share (PBS) systems are meant to be a sustainable urban mobility solution in areas where different travel options and the practice of active transport modes can diminish the need on the vehicle and decrease greenhouse gas emission. Although PBS systems have been included in transportation plans in the last decades experiencing an important development and growth, it is crucial to know the main enablers and barriers that PBS systems are facing to reach their goals. In this paper, first, sentiment analysis techniques are applied to user generated content (UGC) in social media comments (Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor) to identify these enablers and barriers. This analysis provides a set of explanatory variables that are combined with data from official statistics and the PBS observatory in Spain. As a result, a statistical model that assesses the connection between PBS use and certain characteristics of the PBS systems, utilizing sociodemographic, climate, and positive and negative opinion data extracted from social media is developed. The outcomes of the research work show that the identification of the main enablers and barriers of PBS systems can be effectively achieved following the research method and tools presented in the paper. The findings of the research can contribute to transportation planners to uncover the main factors related to the adoption and use of PBS systems, by taking advantage of publicly available data sources. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
Moving to Private-Car-Restricted and Mobility-Served Neighborhoods: The Unspectacular Workings of a Progressive Mobility Plan
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6208; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226208 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Despite ongoing changes in housing construction around parking requirements, few studies have been undertaken on travel practice and vehicle ownership once homes have been built in line with new requirements and occupied. This study focused on the experience and travel practices of residents [...] Read more.
Despite ongoing changes in housing construction around parking requirements, few studies have been undertaken on travel practice and vehicle ownership once homes have been built in line with new requirements and occupied. This study focused on the experience and travel practices of residents in two specific cases involving new requirements in Sweden. It was based on interviews and questionnaires with residents before and after they moved into the two new blocks of apartments. A relatively restricted supply of parking was compensated for with subsidized mobility services for the residents, e.g., car and bike (sharing) clubs. The results indicated a decrease in car ownership in both blocks, as well as a decrease in the frequency of car travel in one of them. There were indications that use of public transport had increased. Our analysis illustrates the roles that parking and mobility services played over time in establishing the residents’ travel habits. The process that shaped the new residents’ car ownership and travel patterns was, in part, quite slow and unspectacular compared with the intentions and expectations of the stakeholders involved as regards to how car ownership and travel habits would change. We discuss a spectrum of everyday life conditions, which together with parking requirements and mobility services can stimulate the growth of urban mobility practices other than those based on private car ownership. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Transport Planning: From Supply- to Demand-Oriented Planning. Considering the Benefits
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5900; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215900 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
The idea of integrated transport planning is widely accepted in the research community as well as in the field of transport policy. However, the actual implementation is still lagging behind. Acknowledging the gap between concept and reality, the benefits of a demand-oriented approach [...] Read more.
The idea of integrated transport planning is widely accepted in the research community as well as in the field of transport policy. However, the actual implementation is still lagging behind. Acknowledging the gap between concept and reality, the benefits of a demand-oriented approach have to be reconsidered by the various stakeholders in politics, the economy, planning and civil society. In order to address this issue, we created a factual use-case by redefining empirical data (qualitative interviews) from Berlin, which our department collected in 2013 for a research project on e-mobility. The initial objective was to find out what kind of charging infrastructure would be necessary to persuade on-street parkers in densely-populated inner city areas to switch to e-mobility vehicles in the future, basically following the conventional ‚predict and provide‘-approach characteristic of traditional transport planning. In the course of the research, we decided to go against the directive and switched perspective completely in favour of a demand-approach, enquiring into people’s needs, which otherwise would have remained unidentified and invisible. Rather than creating the data to support proposed planning interventions, our method led to a much more sustainable, bottom-up planning strategy in line with the social and ecological benefits of an integrated transport planning approach and revealed the real mobility needs of people living in inner-city areas of Berlin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
Bridging Theories and Practices: Boundary Objects and Constellation Analysis as Vehicles for Interdisciplinary Knowledge Integration
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5357; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195357 - 27 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Knowledge integration is a major challenge of interdisciplinary research. Substantially different stocks of knowledge based on different scientific backgrounds, uses of language, methodologies, and epistemologies must be integrated into the research process. Addressing this challenge, this paper exemplifies the process of interdisciplinary knowledge [...] Read more.
Knowledge integration is a major challenge of interdisciplinary research. Substantially different stocks of knowledge based on different scientific backgrounds, uses of language, methodologies, and epistemologies must be integrated into the research process. Addressing this challenge, this paper exemplifies the process of interdisciplinary knowledge integration drawing on the example of the junior research group DynaMo—Mobility-Energy Dynamics in Urban Areas that deals with the sustainable transformation of urban mobility systems. This paper shows how we apply the boundary object concept in combination with the method of Constellation Analysis as vehicles for interdisciplinary knowledge integration. By innovatively combining the boundary object concept with Constellation Analysis we (a) suggest a self-reflective tool for structuring the process of knowledge integration and (b) further operationalize the boundary object with the help of core concepts. The approach is illustrated with the boundary object sustainable transformation of urban passenger mobility used by DynaMo. In doing so, the paper aims to add an instrument to the toolkit of inter- and transdisciplinary research and offers practical knowledge for its application. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
Travel Satisfaction vs. Life Satisfaction: A Weighted Decision-Making Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195309 - 26 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Numerous studies have found that travel mode choice is related to mode-specific attitudes as well as travel-related satisfaction. While choosing a travel mode that is congruent with attitudes towards that mode (i.e., consonance) brings about travel satisfaction, travel-related satisfaction can result in the [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have found that travel mode choice is related to mode-specific attitudes as well as travel-related satisfaction. While choosing a travel mode that is congruent with attitudes towards that mode (i.e., consonance) brings about travel satisfaction, travel-related satisfaction can result in the choice of a travel mode which is not necessarily consistent with (all) attitudes (i.e., dissonance). However, few studies have analyzed the extent to which consonance and dissonance affect or are affected by the overall travel-related satisfaction. This paper aims at understanding whether respondents with a positive attitude towards a certain mode will actually use the mode, and whether consonant travelers are more satisfied with their trips and travel-related situations compared to their dissonant counterparts. Additionally, research in this area is dominated by the use of quantitative methods, leading to a lack of understanding of the complexity of subjective factors such as attitudes and values. In this study, with a retrospective mixed method approach, 1977 (in the quantitative section) and 19 (in the qualitative section) employees who have experienced an involuntary relocation of their workplace have been examined vis-à-vis their travel-related values and attitudes, corresponding choices, and satisfaction. Results from our quantitative analyses indicate that first, the relocation of the workplace was associated with increased public transit use and travel satisfaction; and second, surprisingly, the share of dissonant active mode users was relatively high compared to other modes (except bus). Our qualitative analyses revealed that individuals do not necessarily use the most positively valued travel mode due to lack of accessibility and competences, but also due to having preferences for other travel-related elements such as travel route. Furthermore, travel mode consonance (or dissonance) and travel satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) are not necessarily positively related because (i) individuals attribute different weights to their travel-related attitudes and values, and (ii) satisfaction in other life domains can make a travel dissatisfaction bearable or even favorable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
The Emergence of Mobility Inequality in Greater Jakarta, Indonesia: A Socio-Spatial Analysis of Path Dependencies in Transport–Land Use Policies
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5115; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185115 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Despite numerous studies suggesting a path-dependent relationship between transport–land use policies and urban structures, particularly on the emergence of car-oriented development, this connection has rarely been explained with spatial evidence. To address this gap, this paper investigated the historical and spatial urban transformation [...] Read more.
Despite numerous studies suggesting a path-dependent relationship between transport–land use policies and urban structures, particularly on the emergence of car-oriented development, this connection has rarely been explained with spatial evidence. To address this gap, this paper investigated the historical and spatial urban transformation of Greater Jakarta from three different time periods to understand today’s extensive use of and dependence on private vehicles. This study applied a multi-method approach of (1) historical literature review, (2) computational analysis of the street network using space syntax, and (3) visual analysis of video recordings to allow for a comprehensive insight into the socio-spatial aspects of urbanization as a path-dependent course. The findings indicate that Jakarta’s pedestrian network has been diminishing over time against the well-connected vehicular network. Furthermore, the remaining potential for walking cannot be actualized due to walking inconveniences at the street level. This suggests mobility inequality, since access to citywide urban functions is highly dependent on the access to private vehicles. It also provides spatial evidence that previous policies have had a long-term impact on socio-spatial structures. This paper contributes not only scientific reference for transport and mobility studies in the Southeast Asia region, but also a practical reference for urban planners and policy-makers on how to achieve sustainable development goals and to provide equal access for all. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle
On the Road to Sustainable Urban and Transport Development in the Automobile Society? Traced Narratives of Car-Reduced Neighborhoods
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4375; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164375 - 13 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Worldwide, academics and practitioners are developing ‘planning-oriented’ approaches to reduce the negative impacts of car traffic for more sustainable urban and transport development. One such example is the design of car-reduced neighborhoods, although these are controversial issues in the hegemonic ‘system’ of automobility. [...] Read more.
Worldwide, academics and practitioners are developing ‘planning-oriented’ approaches to reduce the negative impacts of car traffic for more sustainable urban and transport development. One such example is the design of car-reduced neighborhoods, although these are controversial issues in the hegemonic ‘system’ of automobility. Despite the reduction of emissions and frequent recognition as ‘best practice examples’, ‘planning-critical’ research questions the underlying objectives and narratives of such sustainable developments. Our study contributes to this research perspective by improving the understanding of narratives that emerge along with car-reduced housing developments. For this purpose, we analyze two car-reduced neighborhoods in the City of Darmstadt (Germany) by conducting interviews with different actors involved in the planning and implementation processes. Our investigation reveals that the development of car-reduced neighborhoods (i) is consciously embedded in the context of sustainability, (ii) is characterized by power relations, (iii) follows normative indicators, and (iv) does not always correspond to lived realities. Altogether, the traced narratives of car-reduced neighborhoods are embedded in the overarching debate on sustainability, while at the same time revealing the dependence of society on the automobile. Thus, the hegemonic ‘system’ of automobility—although it is beginning to crack—continues to exist. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Mobility: Interdisciplinary Approaches)
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