Community-Led Infrastructures

About the theme

Walking and cycling infrastructure goes beyond just “bricks and mortar” and can include such things as bicycle repair workshops, information provision, or crosswalk paint. The ideas, initiation, implementation, and maintenance of infrastructure are not only the domain of government institutions but may be achieved by groups within local communities. This research theme aims to understand who gets involved in community-level infrastructural innovation efforts, why they get involved, what these infrastructures are, and where they succeed or do not succeed. It also seeks to assess the ways that community-led infrastructural innovations can contribute to a more equitable and just transportation system.

This theme will investigate community-led infrastructure initiatives in London, UK and São Paulo, Brazil that increase the attractiveness of walking and cycling. Answers to the following questions are sought:

  • What community-led infrastructures exist and where are they?
  • What is the extent of their influence?
  • Who gets involved, and in what capacity?
  • Who benefits from these projects?
  • How do these initiatives embody visions of collective wellbeing, equity, and justice?
  • Is it possible to upscale or mainstream these initiatives or would that undermine some of the benefits?
Corner in De Beauvoir Ward

London and São Paulo are both international cities with sometimes profound social inequalities, yet each faces significantly different challenges from the other. For instance, motor vehicle use in São Paulo is expanding rapidly whereas in London it may have peaked and the city now experiences an expansion of pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure. We will use these contrasting cities to pose questions of one another; this may reveal the importance of local context and differing global perspectives.

You may find the conclusions drawn from this research particularly useful if you are a community leader, NGO, or small enterprise working on improving local conditions for pedestrians or cyclists, a local planning or transport policy maker, a politician with interested constituencies, or simply a pedestrian or cyclist or someone who wants to be one.

This theme is led by Dr. Tim Schwanen and Dr. Denver Nixon.

Contact: Community-Led Infrastructures Team

Email: denver.nixon@ouce.ox.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1865 285545
Address: Transport Studies Unit, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3QY, UK

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The DePICT project aims to determine which features of urban environments, local communities, and the governance of physical infrastructures influence walking and cycling and how these can be optimised to achieve sustainable urban mobility for all.

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