Chapter 2: Urban transport and wellbeing: a critical analysis
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The creation of sustainable and human-scale cities for all will be easier if researchers, planners and other stakeholders make room for multiple imaginings of what wellbeing is, how it can be achieved, and what role transport plays in this. Hedonic and eudaimonic conceptions of subjectively experienced wellbeing cannot be taken as universally applicable or always the best ways to think about wellbeing in connection with transport and travel behaviour. Those conceptions have a role to play in research and policy, but the effects generated by the pursuit of those versions of wellbeing should be critically considered. This is particularly important when that pursuit encourages selfish behaviour or research considers people and communities whose beliefs and worldviews are incommensurate with the assumptions of universal emotions, a priori and innate needs, or the individual as fully detached from their social and cultural context. Transport research and planning can benefit significantly from greater engagement with relational and process-oriented understandings of wellbeing and its association with human actions, including different ways of moving around the city. The contours of one such approach, which revolves around a reworked notion of capabilities, are sketched, but experimentation with alternatives is much desired.

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