Suburbia, Mobility, and Urban Calamities

This article considers mobility and transportation issues in urban calamities, such as Hurricane Katrina which hit the New Orleans area in 2005. The author maintains that such calamities bring to light a "mobility deficit" that is the result of inequitable planning decisions made over the past several decades. The author argues that the events relating to the hurricane should highlight the effects of an ideology of mobility that permeates dominant strands of U.S. culture and that nearly single-handedly determines much of the essential public policy domains of government. The article reviews the history of waves of suburbanization, the role of large public works projects, social and economic inequalities, evacuation plans, the ability of wealthier people to comply with orders of evacuation, and the occurrence of massive gridlock (as happened near Houston in advance of Hurricane Rita) which prevents mobility. The author stresses that the cultural assertion that "freedom" is attained through the inefficient use of a highly pollutive technology (automobiles) for mobility reflects the difficulties in finding a resolution for this problem. The author concludes that out of the tragedy of a regional devastation could emerge a more democratic and honest dialog focusing on a reconsideration of the spatial patterns that have sustained decades of inequalities.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Pagination: pp 60-62
  • Serial:
    • Space and Culture
    • Volume: 9
    • Issue Number: 1
    • Publisher: Sage Publications, Incorporated
    • ISSN: 1552-8308

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01042693
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 23 2007 10:44AM