Category Archives: mobilities

The American Wall: Spatialization of Inequality

Laura Poitras, Academy Award winning Director of Citizenfour and others at Field of Vision stitched together 200000 Google satellite images to create Best of Luck with the Wall, a video of the US-Mexico border, where the American government proposes to build a wall to keep out Mexicans.

Over the last 15 years, Space and Culture has published multiple articles on the Mexico-US border as a division, a trade corridor and space of mobilities, a lived cultural experience, and as a liminal space betwixt and between the two countries.  These included Remembering Laredo (Mehnaaz Momen 2007), Road Signs on the Border (Lee Rodney 2011) and Speed and Space within a NAFTA Corridor (Jane Henrici 2002).

-Rob Shields (University of Alberta)

Together on Europe’s New Shore: Notes on a Migrant Drowning

Recently we have witnessed a media spectacle of old trawlers, their decks impossibly crowded with people. In videos and news images, swimmers clinging to wreckage and drowned bodies are cut with outraged advocates for children and human rights arguing that European values require a greater rescue effort. The BBC shows a coffin marked only as a numbered body being buried.  Solicitous news anchors divide up simplistic alternatives and politicians make dramatic proposals to drop bombs (that these will be in crowded civilian areas is not mentioned in the flurry of news-bites). These all contrast with the weighty, steady pressure of migration from countries that have up to 30 times lower per capital GDP than European countries, the imponderable causes and the slow, hidden deliberations that seem determined by bureaucracies focused on neoliberal economics that cannot contemplate expenditures by States on human issues unless forced to.

Continue reading Together on Europe’s New Shore: Notes on a Migrant Drowning

City as Bicycle Space

Genre de Vie is about the senses, urban experiences and transit.  It documents how urban life is enhanced and empowered by the bicycle — a simple interface to experiencing and accessing the city.  Bicycling becomes attractive when it is safe and the fastest way to access the city.   These two requirements involve providing separate infrastructure for bicycles: physically separated lanes, convenient bike rental/sharing and integrated networks of bicycle routes throughout the city.  By bicycle, I can get across Paris in under 40 minutes, impossible by almost any other mode of transport.

Genre de Vie, filmed in Copenhagen and New York by Jorri Spoelstra and Sven Prince of Photobooth Works and Faithful to the Subject, offers insights on how we can make our own cities immediately more livable and enjoyable for ourselves.

IMG_1234-Rob Shields (University of Alberta)