Edited by Robin Hickman, Beatriz Mella Lira, Moshe Givoni and Karst Geurs
Chapter 6: Automobile peripheries: travel to school in suburban London through the lens of social practice
Emilia Smeds considers journeys to school in relation to social practices and the dimensions of material, meaning and competency. This is viewed as a more complete framework for assessing social change than psychological theories which concentrate on attitudes at the individual level. Two schools are analysed, using interviews, in Ealing, West London. The prevalence for driving to school is based on a range of issues, including lack of suitable walking and cycling facilities, space-time constraints on parents’ mobility, poor public transport provision, availability of school choice, and negative meanings such as fear of traffic. Hence the difficulties in moving people away from the use of the private car for journeys to school – they are much more fundamental than changing individual behaviours and very often involve deeper, structural issues.
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