The rehabilitation and fundamental transformation of one of Tbilisi’s main thoroughfares – the Chavchavadze Avenue – sparked debates and conflicts over the city’s new transport policy. Many protested that only one car lane was left and car-parking space was reduced in favor of giving space to public transport, cycling and pedestrian infrastructures. Some found the counter-flow organization of bus lanes dangerous and problematic. Yet, others embraced the reform as a key step towards more socio-spatially just urban and mobility planning. In what follows, I retell the history of the transformation of the avenue. I illustrate how precarious and institutionally challenging the accomplishment of such a street redesign can be. I also suggest that the story of redesigning Chavchavadze Avenue shows that even under unfair political rule and precarious institutional settings impressive urban changes are possible. Continue reading “Reclaiming I. Chavchavadze Avenue”
During the third weekend of March 2023, the team of the IfL projectContentious mobilities through a decolonial lens (CoMoDe) hosted – jointly with the Ilia State University – a Symposium in Tbilisi, Georgia. The name of the event was “Knowledge Production in Public Transport – Normativities. Actors. Outcomes”. Since Lela Rekhviashvili, a postdoctoral researcher within CoMoDe, had been studying the public transport reform in Tbilisi, her expertise in the field shaped the conceptual framework of the symposium. Furthermore, a former employee of the Tbilisi city hall – Elene Khundzadze – who was a fellowship-holder at IfL – amply contributed with to the conceptual and organisational preparation of the event. Continue reading “Knowledge Production in Public Transport: Georgian Symposium of the CoMoDe group”
In the scope of the PUTSPACE project at IfL, Lukas Adolphi, Wladimir Sgibnev and Tonio Weicker published an open-access article on their research and cartographic visualizations on alternative mobility offers or so-called microtransit in Germany in the Journal of Transport Geography.
The paper discusses the role and possible impact of microtransits within mobility transitions through analyzing its hybrid nature in between car-usage and public transport in connection with its further potentials, limitations and corporate structures. The authors dive deep into the current status of microtransit distribution and trends. It is taken into consideration that any growth in this field of mobility happens rather slow and is subject to several limiting factors, so that project initiations rely heavily on experimental clauses by local governments and the existing forms of microtransit are rather diverse, small-scale and cater to very different groups of citizens. Going from there, the article aims to frame a future perspective of microtransit in Germany and sheds a light on this mobility phenomenon with all its struggles and promises through a unique methodology and via providing the first officially published, nationwide mapping in this form of all known microtransit offers.
New in: A collaborative paper by Louise Sträuli, Tauri Tuvikene, Tonio Weicker, Wojciech Kębłowski,Wladimir Sgibnev, Peter Timko and Marcus Finbom, published in the scope of the Putspace project at IfL.
´The authors investigate how the Covid-19 pandemic affected both the accessibility of urban public transport and its structures themselves. It takes a closer look on the specific governmental regulations regarding urban mobility and points out the struggles of people who were especially affected by the Covid regulations on urban transport systems.
In an extensive mixed-method study, data on the behavior, emotions and struggles of public transport users and urban citizens from Berlin, Brussels, Stockholm and Tallinn has been collected. It is shown, how the regulations transformed general passenger behavior in terms of usage, distances and frequency of travel and that certain narratives and passengers emotions as well as their socio-economic conditions have to be taken into account when trying to understand the realm of public transport in times of crisis.
A new collaborative text by Tim Leibert, Lela RekhviashviliandWladimir Sgibnev explores the complex, structural and historic linkage between capitalist neo-extractivism and mobilities of globalization. It brings up the argument, that facets of mobility should always be taken into consideration when talking about extractivism and calls for a general shift in perspective on debates regarding sustainable development and mobility transitions. The authors argue that mobilities of a consumerist culture almost automatically exacerbate extractivism at the cost of the global south and exploited regions on multiple levels.
The text was originally published in german on the “Berliner Gazette” as a contribution to the ongoing series on the BG platform “After Extractivism”, which can be read here. The english version was published on Mediapart.
In their newest open access articleWladimir Sgibnev, together with our colleagues Laura Kemmer, Tonio Weicker and Maxwell Woods showcase how postsocialism and postcolonial studies can be brought into dialogue and learn from one another. Their contribution is based on the comparison of the historical case studies of tramway lines construction in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Kharkiv, Ukraine.
The article further investigates specific historical trajectories of mobility development in the postsocialist urban context and thereby draws converse lines to western hegemonial narratives of the modern city.
Following the launch of the mass housing campaign under Nikita Khrushchev, the cityscape of Soviet Samarkand still remains some changes and continuities of it. This paper examines the planning, building, appropriation, and renovation of public and private housing on the level of practices rather than policies and discourses. It relates these practices to the specific temporalities of Samarkand’s landscape, such as the life cycles of inhabitants, the change of seasons, or the timelines of material decay, among others. Continue reading “The Soviet city as a landscape in the making”
At the end of a long service life, Streetcars do not necessarily end up on the scrap heap in Germany. Some are given a second home in other operations. Since 1990, 49 transport companies have handed over a total of 3,745 discarded streetcars to cities outside Germany. The fascinating complexity of this phenomenon was the motivation for Lukas Adolphi, Wladimir Sgibnev and Tonio Weicker to investigate the destinations and the further use of used streetcar vehicles from German companies in more detail. One result of these investigations are maps showing the manifold travel routes of individual vehicles.