Contesting the spaces of the automobile : the politics of mobility and the sprawl debate in Atlanta, Georgia
Henderson, Jason Mark
MetadataShow full item record
Atlanta has become a focal point in the national political debate over sprawl and how American cities should grow. At the center of this debate is the automobile. In this research I explore how discourses about sprawl and transportation policy have been constructed and contested in Atlanta, who has engaged in this process, and how such a discourse has shaped the urban landscape. I argue that to grasp fully the implications of the sprawl debate and the competing visions that undergird it, mobility and how mobility relates to spatial configuration must be understood. The automobile requires a certain kind of spatial organization, one that is incongruent with other forms of mobility when it fully dominates everyday life. To contest sprawl, then, is to also contest the automobile politically. Seeking to contest sprawl means questioning the inevitability of a "car culture" and unpacking the values and ideologies which structure different conceptualizations of mobility and how space should be configured. This means that struggles over urban space and how cities should grow are more than simply place-based conflicts such as central city versus suburb or older suburb versus newer suburb. Struggles over urban space are also about how that space should be configured and arranged, and certain configurations and arrangements include certain mobilities. These configurations of space also represent certain values and ideologies about how cities should grow. Consequently, through an examination of various actors' mobility visions and how they are contested to produce urban space, this dissertation seeks to inform the wider sprawl debate.