chapter  7
14 Pages

Cities

Mobilities in general and personal mobilities in particular constitute an integral part of both urban and rural lives. However, cities deserve special attention as far as mobility is concerned. Cities have always constituted hubs of human interaction and communications: ‘the ability to provide opportunities for human interaction is an – if not the – essential reason for cities to exist’ (Bertolini and Dijist, 2003, p. 28). Furthermore, contemporarily, ‘modern cities are extraordinary agglomerations of flows’, and ‘the modern city is unprecedently based on mobility’ (Amin and Thrift, 2002, pp. 42-3). These statements view contemporary cities as either facilitators for mobilities or as based on them. This chapter will try to go one step further, in its attempt to present contemporary cities as constituting systems of mobilities per se, beyond the obvious material scenes of moving cars and walking people on city streets. This perspective of cities as systems of mobilities will be exposed by focusing on the syntax of cities and their rhythms, as well as by highlighting cities as machines and networks. In these discussions we will concentrate simultaneously on people and mortar, as well as on the more macro level of cities at large, side by side with a focus on specific facilities, such as mobility businesses.