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Les énigmes sensibles des mobilités urbaines contemporaines

Abstract : Sharing spaces of motion : material and sensory resources, know-how and knowing-how-to-be Muse aims to revisit, with a sensory perspective, the postures for studying mobility, revealing the stakes for society and the ambiguities they entail. In so doing, Muse adopts the opposite stance to 'spatializing' approaches to the fabrication of contemporary urban society. It shows how, over and above material and spatial dimensions, moving in a city engages the sensory and particular ways of being together. We seek to describe the arrangements by which city-dwellers share the spaces of motion: in contexts of problematic mobility - the densely packed, violent terrains of the South, international railway stations, the vicinity of cemeteries - where the design, or re-design, is guided by powerful ideology (pacification, security background, fluidity paradigm), how is sharing to be orchestrated? To what forms of know-how and knowing-how-to-be do pedestrians resort? How do these skills cope with the material and sensory resources of urban space? In particular Muse has studied four issues for the spaces of motion: pacification of urban public spaces; labile mobility; public surveillance; and threshold practices and devices in a fluid city. Observing in situ and at the level of bodies in motion Muse has rooted its observation in the field, through a series of methodological experiments involving two movements. The first one consists in 'deframing' various, often problematic urban, geographic and cultural contexts, a process which brings into play the gaps between the rationale of institutions and that of users: in the North, in the railway stations of St Pancras International, London, and Gare du Nord, Paris; in the vicinity of the cemeteries at Poblenou, Barcelona, and La Défense, Paris; and in the South, in Caracas and Salvador de Bahia, in hyper-aesthetic, densely packed public urban spaces. Empirical investigations were carried out at the meeting point between several disciplines: architecture, planning and geography in London and Paris ; architecture and social anthropology in Barcelona and at La Défense ; architecture and sociology in Caracas ; architecture, sociology and dance in Salvador de Bahia. Our field work was informed by this operational interdisciplinarity and by the staging of urban walks, the focus of the second movement. The subject of research, walking also became a tool for investigating terrain, positing allowance for the corporeality of the researchers as one of inputs to the question of sharing. Towards a sensory criticism of the urban environment By focusing our inquiry on changes in the modes of sharing spaces of motion and by choosing terrains problematic in this respect, Muse opens the way for fresh inquiry in ambiance-related work, with regard to policy. The work delivered, which is very descriptive, prompts debate on the sensory becoming of spaces of motion, without abstracting it from the moral foundations which underpin some of the design ideologies analysed here. In this respect Muse holds the prospect of new research: a sensory critique of the urban environment. Scientific output and patents since the start of the project Muse considered the issue of possible ways of reporting a research project which engages researchers in the field and directly addresses sensory societal problematiques. In addition to conventional scientific output (publication of articles and conference talks), the team took part in outreach targeting the general public (Fête de la Science, social and human sciences fair). Creating the Muse website ( fulfils the goal of necessary critical debate.
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Reports (Research report)
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 4:00:47 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 17, 2022 - 4:48:10 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, October 10, 2014 - 12:20:23 PM


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  • HAL Id : hal-01022664, version 1



Rachel Thomas, Sandra Fiori, Pedro José Garcia Sanchez, Damien Masson, Grégoire Chelkoff, et al.. Les énigmes sensibles des mobilités urbaines contemporaines. [Rapport de recherche] 87, Centre de Recherche sur l'Espace Sonore et l'Environnement Urbain. 2014, 350 p. ⟨hal-01022664⟩



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