Young and Keil 2009



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Competitiveness Link

Expanding transportation infrastructure in the name of competitiveness dissolves lived life in favor of smooth unnoticed conduits for capital transfer


Young and Keil 2009 (Douglas and Roger, Professors at York University, Cities 27.2 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275109001085)

A recent globally sourced report states: “All cities need high-quality infrastructure to facilitate the movement of people and goods, and the delivery of basic services to their populations” (GlobeScan, 2007, p. 25). In complex city regions this poses a host of challenges of “funding, management, maintenance and efficient running of services, as well as the need to find infrastructure solutions that are environmentally sustainable” (Ibid.). A more popular publication, The Atlantic, published a stern warning that cities are losing the battle for eminence in infrastructure funding: “Transportation spending is spread around the United States like peanut butter, and while it is spread pretty thick – nearly $50 billion last year in federal dollars for surface transportation alone – the places that are most critical to the country’s economic competitiveness don’t get what they need” (Katz and Puentes, 2008, p. 38). These places are, of course, cities, and the Canadian situation is perhaps worse. A nationwide study by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities found in 2007 that the country’s urban infrastructures were “near collapse” and spoke of a municipal infrastructure deficit of $123 billion (Mirza, 2007). Infrastructure builds cities but it also dissolves cities as it creates centrifugal possibilities. The post-war suburbs are the most pervasive example of the explosion of settlement and the implosion of urban centres. A global “suburban solution” (Walker, 1981) drains the urban centres and leads to new forms of concentration where there are no traditional accumulations of infrastructure services. Historically concentrated forms of built and social environment – service hubs in ports, markets, civic centres, central business districts, etc. – give way to a more pervasively sprawled metropolitan landscape entirely dedicated to providing the most efficient conduit for global capital. Even in overall “healthy” metropolitan regions, the centrifugal dynamics continue. In Toronto, for example, the recent census figures suggest an unbroken, if not accelerated, trend towards suburbanization of housing and jobs. This has social and spatial implications: the traditional focus on collective consumption is partially replaced with a purely exchange value oriented set of criteria for infrastructure development which makes global economic competitiveness, rather than local social cohesion the marker of success ( [Erie, 2004] and [Keil and Young, 2008]). The spatial consequences of such a fundamental social reorientation are visible in the just-in-time landscapes of transportation and information infrastructures that have laced metropolitan regions since the 1980s. This is the walmartized, strip-malled landscape of automobile convenience, which values temporal availability (for producers and consumers) over quality; space (for warehousing, transportation and mass distribution on one hand and single family monster homes in the far reaches of the commutershed on the other) over other considerations (density, proximity, sustainability, etc.). The aforementioned study on “megacity challenges” concludes that while “transport overtakes all other infrastructure concerns … the environment matters but may be sacrificed for growth” (GlobeScan, 2007, p. 7). In this context, we also need to mention that urban regions are but part of larger urbanization clusters such as the regional Megalopolis of the Atlantic seaboard in the United States. A recent study of the area concludes: “Overall, the forces of urban decentralization have changed Megalopolis from a region of big city population to a more fully suburbanized agglomeration” (Vicino, Hanlon and Short, 2007, p. 348). In the Quebec-Windsor corridor in Canada, as well as in the Edmonton-Calgary corridor and the lower mainland of British Columbia, we see similar tendencies towards large scale suburbanized agglomeration. The governments of Ontario, Quebec, and Canada have addressed the specific transportation and infrastructure issues of the Quebec City-Windsor corridor with a planned Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor (http://www.tc.gc.ca/mediaroom/speeches/2007/2007-11-27.htm). As is the case with the transportation networks in the regional Places to Grow planning efforts3, these transregional plans cut more transversals through the in-between city, treating these areas as terrain to be overcome rather than as places to stay, inhabit or produce. Perhaps the most visible outgrowth of this tendency is the globally financed, privatized Highway 407, which represents a giant concrete swath that crosses the entire Southern Ontario in-between belt north of Toronto (Torrance, 2008).

Zones that don’t “contribute” to the economy are viewed as objects rather than subjects: they serve self-interested planning rationales rather than anything external


Young and Keil 2009 (Douglas and Roger, Professors at York University, Cities 27.2 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275109001085)

What, then, are the infrastructural necessities specific to the in-between city? Tom Sieverts gives us some clues what to look for here. In the first place, the challenges of the in-between infrastructure are those of connectivity. From the point of view of the economy of urban regions, lack of connectivity is translated into lack of competitiveness. This is what most of the discourse on urban infrastructure is about. The in-between cities of the urban fringe participate in this policy discourse as silent partners, to be bypassed quickly, gotten by fast. The scale of connectivity for which infrastructures in the globalized metropolitan region is built makes links between airports, offices and ‘hip’ entertainment as well as between producers, suppliers, and mega-consumption spaces. The in-between is lost, although it is clear that those mega-infrastructures or super-structures are neglecting the capillaries of the urban region – those links that create spaces of the everyday where people live and work – at the peril of losing competitiveness along with livability (Keil and Young, 2008). Various spaces in the in-between city are theoretically connected mostly through car use but truncated public transportation filters into the automobilized landscape. As a hegemonic image, in-betweenness suggests freedom and mobility, “a life a la carte, provided [inhabitants] can afford it. By means of a rapid transport system, inhabitants can reach and connect with a large number of diversely specialized uses and places in a short time” (Sieverts, 2003, p. 71). But Sieverts is aware of the illusion that underlies this idealized view: “Read and used as a system, the Zwischenstadt is … problematic from several perspectives. It exerts stress on the environment, it does not serve those sectors of the population which do not have access to a car, and it fragments living space and living time” (Sieverts, 2003, p. 71). Some of the issue of invisibility of the in-between city in infrastructure questions has to do with the Zwischenstadt’s inherent character. Sieverts points out that memory has a hard time taking hold in this mesh of (sub)urban uses. “In the Zwischenstadt, we cannot speak any longer of one single form of aesthetic. At first sight, we have to separate at least three different aesthetics: the classical aesthetic of conventional beauty, e.g. of the old city, the aesthetics of the ‘prints of life’ e.g. in the form of ‘spontaneous appropriation’, and the aesthetic of flows, e.g. in the form of transportation networks” (Sieverts, 2007a, p. 204). While the in-between city is the playground of all kinds of state-sponsored strategies of planning and politics, it is no destination of such activities, but merely a container and recipient of higher order restructurings. The in-between city, in fact, is an “anaesthetic” environment, which has no memory and does not lend itself to be remembered as distinct. It is produced to be transgressed at high speed to reach other points in the urban region.

Economy Link

Transport programs focused on benefiting the economy reduce human life to nothing


Scott 1998 (Professor of Political Science at Yale, Seeing Like a State )

Compare this perspective with most of the key elements in high- modernist urban planning. Such plans all but require forms of sim- plification that strip human activity to a sharply defined single pur- pose. In orthodox planning, such simplifications underlie the strict functional segregation of work from domicile and both from com- merce. The matter of transportation becomes, for Le Corbusier and others, the single problem of how to transport people (usually in auto- mobiles) as quickly and economically as possible. The activity of shop- ping becomes a question of providing adequate floor space and access for a certain quantity of shoppers and goods. Even the category of en- tertainment was split up into specified activities and segregated into playgrounds, athletic fields, theaters, and so on.


Cities Link

Cities key claims rely on an implicit centrality of the city that also allows for political domination


Scott 1998 (Professor of Political Science at Yale, Seeing Like a State )

The first of Le Corbusier's "principles of urbanism," before even "the death of the street." was the dictum "The Plan: Di~tator."~~ It would be difficult to exaggerate the emphasis that, like Descartes, Le Cor- busier placed on making the city the reflection of a single, rational plan. He greatly admired Roman camps and imperial cities for the overall logic of their layouts. He returned repeatedly to the contrast between the existing city, which is the product of historical chance, and the city of the future, which would be consciously designed from start to finish following scientific principles. The centralization required by Le Corbusier's doctrine of the Plan (always capitalized in his usage) is replicated by the centralization of the city itself. Functional segregation was joined to hierarchy. His city was a 'lmonocephalic" city, its centrally located core performing the "higher" functions of the metropolitan area. This is how he described the business center of his Plan Voisin for Paris: "From its offices come the commands that put the world in order. In fact, the skyscrapers are the brain of the city, the brain of the whole country. They embody the work of elaboration and command on which all activities depend. Everything is concentrated there: the tools that conquer time and space-telephones, telegraphs, radios, the banks, trading houses, the organs of decision for the factories: finance, technology, commerce."25 The business center issues commands; it does not suggest, much less consult. The program of high-modernist authoritarianism at work here stems in part from Le Corbusier's love of the order of the factory. In condemning the "rot" (la pourriture) of the contemporary city, its houses, and its streets, he singles out the factory as the sole exception. There, a single rational purpose structures both the physical layout and the coordinated movements of hundreds. The Van Nelle tobacco factory in Rotterdam is praised in particular. Le Corbusier admires its auster- ity, its floor-to-ceiling windows on each floor, the order in the work, and the apparent contentment of the workers. He finishes with a hymn to the authoritarian order of the production line. "There is a hierarchical scale, famously established and respected," he admiringly observes of the workers. "They accept it so as to manage themselves like a colony of worker-bees: order, regularity, punctuality, justice and paternali~m."~~ The scientific urban planner is to the design and construction of the city as the entrepreneur-engineer is to the design and construction of the factory. Just as a single brain plans the city and the factory, so a sin- gle brain directs its activity-from the factory's office and from the city's business center. The hierarchy doesn't stop there. The city is the brain of the whole society. "The great city commands everything: peace, war, work."27 Whether it is a matter of clothing, philosophy, technol- ogy, or taste, the great city dominates and colonizes the provinces: the lines of influence and command are exclusively from the center to the periphery.28

Urban is the key site to make a critique of capitalism


Kipfer 2002 (Associate prof of polisci and French at York University, Urbanization, Everyday Life and the Survival of Capitalism: Lefebvre, Gramsci and the Problematic of Hegemony, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 13:2)

Conceptually, Lefebvre sees the urban as form and mediation. As socio-spatial f o r m - centrality, encounter, discontinuous simultaneityg5 - the urban mediates everyday life with the social order, links past, present, and future and articulates multiple scales. Rather than a transhistorical spatial determinant of ways of life (as in the Chicago School of urban s o ~ i o l o g y ) , ~ ~ the urban as form is both product and oeuvre and thus related dialectically to its content. As such, the urban is an intermediary instance that mediates the macro- dimensions and institutions of the social order (state and capital, patriarchy, institutional knowledge) (1 'ordre lointain) and the immediate, micro-reality of everyday life (1 'ordre p r o ~ h e ) . ~ ~ As a mediation and form, urban space includes material practices of reproduction (spatial practices, perceived space), state-bound interventions of policy, planning and dominant knowledge (spaces of representation, conceived space), and subtle dimensions of symbolism, affect and experience (representational space, lived space). As a product of industrialization, commodification, real estate capital, dominant "urbanist" strategies of planners and architects, and everyday symbols (such as phallic images), the urban is an objective "projection of society" onto space that eradicates citylcountryside with a landscape of the present. But the urban is also a "medium of action and creation" (oeuvre) by subjects.98 As such, the urban may be a result of creativity, spontaneity, and ludic festivity and thus include traces of a different, post-capitalist urban world.99 Squeezed between society and everyday life in a kind of half- existence (demi-existence), loo the urban is both site for the construction of hegemony and achilles heel of capital.lol As "a location for the reproduction of social relations of production,"lo2 urban space is clearly central to hegemony: Is it conceivable that the exercise of hegemony might leave space untouched? Could space be nothing more than the passive locus of social relations, the milieu of in which their combination takes on body, or the aggregate of the procedures employed in their removal? The answer must be no. Later on I shall demonstrate and active - the operational or instrumental - role of space, as knowledge and action, in the existing mode of production. I shall show how space serves, and how hegemony makes use of it, in the establishment, on the basis of an underlying logic and with the help of knowledge and technical expertise, of a "system."103 Hegemonic social space is not "purged of contradictions" and has no "legitimate claim to immortality."lo4 But the production of urban space contributes to hegemony by fusing the immediate realm of lived space with the spatial practices and spaces of representations of the larger social order.lo5 The serialized abstract space and repetitive linear time of capital and state get inscribed in the everyday through moral principles, persuasion and the "self-evident" force of daily repetition. The urban mediates this process as it contains macro-structures and is incorporated in everyday life.lo6 In the postwar order, the fusion of all aspects of social space and the integration of the macro social order with everyday life through urbanization was particularly acute.lo7 While Lefebvre recognized (like Engels, Marx, and Gramsci) that urbanization creates objective revolutionary conditions by concentrating labor and capital, he emphasized (more emphatically than Engels and Gramsci and more like Benjamin) that urbanization, particularly in neo- capitalist form, is also a force of separation. Under neo-capitalism, industrialized agriculture and growing real estate sectors expand the productive forces and open new sources of profit while mass-produced suburbs, factory districts, and expressways presuppose the (organizational and spatial) centralization of capital. But neocapitalist urbanization survived by peripheralizing the working class and dissociating everyday life with new forms of segregation and individualization. Through postwar urbanization, everyday life is subsumed to bureaucratically administered consumption and enclosed in the homogenized and fragmented landscapes of bungalows (pavilions), high rise apartments (grands ensembles), freeways and leisure $paces (beaches and resort towns).Io8 Neo-capitalism takes root in everyday life by integrating utopian aspirations into these everyday spaces which become associated with desires for a different, erotic appropriation of body and nature, hopes for non-instrumental human relationships, or daydreams about freedom from repetitive drudgery. lo9 But contradictions within abstract space and linear time are signs of a possible, post-capitalist urban society shaped by differential space and cyclical time. Neo-capitalist urbanization gives rise to new forms of spatial contradiction. The openness produced by these contradictions explains the continued importance of violence in sustaining a social order without total cohesion.l1° The production of spacepromotes homogeneity and the repetitive - and thus helps reproduce social relations of production - but it also tends to undermine its own conditi0ns.l The fragmentation of urban space into property for sale and profit undermines the capacity to maintain and produce space - a collective productive force - for the purposes of the accumulation pro~css.ll~ Most importantly, the very urbanist practices of planners, architects, and developers that established the neo-capitalist "dreamscapes" negate the utopian aspirations associated with postwar everyday spaces by reducing them to regressive, patriarchal and industrialized utopias. As a result, "the explosion of the city," which may have dissociated everyday life and bound popular aspirations to neo-capitalism, cannot prevent unintended appropriations of space and radical attempts to reclaim urbanity and centrality. Lefebvre's "dialectical humanist" approach to the urban1 l 3 tried to detect everyday aspirations for a de-alienated, fully lived - creative, self-determined, sensual -future and link these aspirations to a critique of the general social order.' l4

Critique of the urban crucial


Kipfer 2002 (Associate prof of polisci and French at York University, Urbanization, Everyday Life and the Survival of Capitalism: Lefebvre, Gramsci and the Problematic of Hegemony, Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 13:2)

New critiques of capitalism may represent a break from the pessimism that has plagued much of the metropolitan left lately. But if it is essential to counter indifference and hopelessness, it may be premature to displace the problematic of hegemony with a problematic of hope and utopia, as some seem to suggest.138 Following Gramsci and Lefebvre, searching for the sources of a counter-hegemonic politics and explaining capitalist survival are not mutually exclusive but internally related projects. Today, the reactions to the bombings of the World Trade Centre underscore the centrality of the urban not only for the imagination and spatial strategies of oppositional forces but also the symbolic and material reorganization of capitalism and imperialism. Analyzing the urban dimensions of capitalist reconstruction is essential if street protest is not to become dissociated from everyday life.13"his analysis is already under way. "Neo-Gramscian" theorists have tried to fuse Harvey's neo-classical urban marxism with middle-range concepts from state and regulation theory to analyze urban hegemony after Fordism. 140 What the orientation excavated from Gramsci and Lefebvre suggests is that an analysis of urban hegemony must go beyond urban political economy and state theory and extend to matters of everyday life.141 Only such an extension makes it possible to grasp "the materiality of the urban" as a component of hegemonylcounter- hegemony in the integral terms suggested by Gramsci and L e f e b ~ r e . ' ~


Planning Link

Legislative planning reproduces a bird’s eye view of urban life the creates the “secret legality” of state ordered capitalistic rhythms


Butler 2008 (Chris, Lecturer at Griffin Law School, “Slicing Through Space…” 17 Griffth L. Rev.)

“In addition to these doubts about the necessity of the TransApex plan, numerous critics have challenged its ecological and financial responsibility. The enthusiasm of Brisbane’s municipal authorities for a transport plan which further reinforces the centrality of private car usage deserves particular scrutiny at a time when the role of sustainable transport systems in the design and organisation of urban space is taking on a new urgency.26 Both the relatively recent explosion of international interest in means to reduce carbon emissions and the emergence of oil vulnerability as a threat to the long-term viability of Brisbane’s suburban landscape raise pertinent questions about the wisdom of TransApex.27 Dodson and Sipe point out that global oil insecurity in recent years has not been factored into the funding model for TransApex and a number of commentators have criticised the inadequacy of its public–private partnership model to adequately insure against risks associated with major transport infrastructure projects.28 Campaigns against the various elements of the TransApex plan have been run by a number of community organisations, including Communities Against The Tunnels (CATT), Community Action for Sustainable Transport (CAST) and the Stop the Hale Street Bridge Alliance. These groups have argued that the increased traffic that TransApex will inevitably promote will raise levels of air pollution and have a destructive impact on existing residential areas close to where the projects will be built. 29 One reason why these community activists have so far had very little success in resisting the push towards TransApex is that they are up against the structurally embedded dependence of Australian society on the motor car. This dependence has manifested itself functionally, through the postwar emergence of the deconcentrated suburban spatial form of Australian cities. In many parts of Brisbane, private forms of transport have been necessary to enable residents to traverse large areas between suburbs that are poorly serviced by rail and buses. The expansion of car ownership was also a necessary precondition for the growth of outer metropolitan development during the decades following World War II.30 Symbolically, the car has also played a central role in defining Australian national identity, both in terms of buttressing hegemonic forms of masculinity and (despite the reality of urban congestion) by promising freedom and unregulated mobility.31 However, both the functional and symbolic dimensions of car culture have relied upon the state’s promotion of the car through the subsidisation of public road infrastructure and the relative neglect of alternative modes of transportation. Even the regulation of private motor vehicle transport in Australia from the first decade of the twentieth century adopted a pro-motoring standpoint in the interests of not suppressing an emergent technology.32 As Davison describes, private motor vehicles are inextricably bound up with the project of modernity.33 Therefore, the development of freeway plans in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s, and their subsequent construction, appear as logical developments in the progress of a modern, technological society.34 Despite the obvious importance of the symbolic attachment to the car in Australia and its historically favoured position amongst planners and policymakers, these factors alone do not sufficiently explain the Brisbane City Council’s strident defence of TransApex. Indeed, its preparedness to engage in such a radical spatial assault on the city suggests a deeper logic at work — one which continues to exacerbate public anxieties over the imperative to reduce private commuting times, and has thwarted opposition to the TransApex model. One currently influential explanation of this logic is provided by Paul Virilio’s writings on the role of speed in the contemporary world. He argues that the single most important factor shaping social life and the institutions that govern it is the inexorable tendency towards ever-increasing speed — or, as he describes it, ‘dromology’. Generalised fears about the pace of everyday life, and consequential state interventions that moderate or enhance it are understood by Virilio as intrinsically ‘dromological’ elements of modernity.35 The concept of dromology provides a mechanism for investigating how the ‘relentless logic of speed has played a crucial part in the militarization of urban space, the organization of territory’ and current transformations of social, political and cultural life.36 Virilio has explored the impact of this logic on architecture, spatial planning, cinema and new forms of information technology.37 He most clearly depicts the degree to which dromological imperatives exercise control over the regulation of mobility in his book Speed and Politics, where he describes how the state confuses the governance of ‘social order with the control of traffic’. The State’s political power … is only secondarily ‘power organized by one class to oppress another’. More materially, it is the polis, the police, in other words highway surveillance, insofar as, since the dawn of the bourgeois revolution, the political discourse has been no more than a series of more or less conscious repetitions of the old communal poliorcetics, confusing social order with the control of traffic (of people, of goods), and revolution, revolt, with traffic jams, illegal parking, multiple crashes, collisions.38 The emergence of modernity is depicted by Virilio in terms of mobilisation and increasing speed in order to show that these developments have not resulted in the reality of freedom of movement. On the contrary, they have produced an ‘obligation to mobility’ or a ‘dictatorship of movement’ which places speed and the means to attain it at the centre of modern social and political life.39 Both personal desires for shorter travel times and state strategies for maximising the productivity of the working day coalesce in the spectral image of the clean, new road — an open space, free of obstructions. There is certainly much of value in Virilio’s account of how speed shapes social relations and forms of institutional governance. He draws attention to the ways in which movement through physical space is now measured in terms of the pace of increasingly rapid forms of technology and communication. The inner city itself is now identified not as the centre of urban life, but as an obstacle to the homogeneous flow of daily traffic. As Virilio describes it: The city is but a stopover, a point on the synoptic path of a trajectory, the ancient military glacis, ridge road, frontier or riverbank, where the spectator’s glance and the vehicle’s speed of displacement were instrumentally linked … (T)here is only habitable circulation.

Public Transit

Public transit creates a captive audience that becomes targeted by advertising


Kolhonen 2005 (Paul, Finnish architecture professor, “Moving Pictures” http://www.contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=351)

City advertising is mainly for people on the move. Their mobility, combined with advertising, has a major role in forming the visual cityscape. The positioning advertising in the cities is directly related to the movement of people. Advertisements are always in places where they have the most viewers, where the most people pass by. Therefore, different transportation devices and transit spaces linked with traffic are the most sought after advertising spaces. The same applies to subway stations and bus stops, which seem to be the only places in the city where people stand with nothing to do but wait and look at the advertisements. These non-places have become an important setting for contemporary living[6] and such places are Usually thoroughly covered with advertisements. Sometimes they have no visual character apart from the one provided by advertisers, and that identity seems to be the same wherever you go in the world. Advertising is not just limited to the exterior. Advertising inside public transportation is very cost effective. It is easy to target an advertisement at a person who you know will be virtually motionless for a long time. A small correctly positioned message will reach a large audience, who sometimes have no chance to look away.

Cars Link

Focusing on automobiles reinscribes a combination of state and capital into rewriting space


Butler 2008 (Chris, Lecturer at Griffin Law School, “Slicing Through Space…” 17 Griffth L. Rev.)

The Brisbane City Council has presented TransApex as one (albeit crucial) component of an ‘integrated and balanced transport strategy’ designed to free up congested inner-city roads for enhanced public transport and pedestrian access.5 However, many questions have already been raised about the economic, social and environmental costs of the discrete projects that constitute TransApex, and if the overall plan is completed, it will clearly have profound impacts on the spatial structure of Brisbane’s inner and middle-ring suburbs.6 This article is a contribution to this debate, but adopts a slightly different focus from much of the existing literature by exploring the philosophical framework underlying these projects. Engaging with the theoretical writings of Paul Virilio and Henri Lefebvre, it argues that behind council’s rhetorical attachment to ‘balance’ in transport modes lies an overwhelming bias towards entrenching the role of the private motor vehicle as the dominant mechanism of mobility in Brisbane. Virilio’s argument that the contemporary world is shaped by a logic of increasing speed provides part of the explanation for the obsessive desire of Brisbane’s public authorities to fund and build enormous infrastructure projects such as TransApex to resolve short periods of peak-hour traffic congestion. However, his account does not adequately connect this modernist paradigm for the governance of urban mobility to larger struggles over the political and legal ordering of space. By contrast, Lefebvre’s theory of the production of space provides us with a helpful lens through which we may observe how TransApex will reinforce a transport model that prioritises and subsidises the private motor car. These new freeway projects can be understood in Lefebvre’s terms as contributions to the reproduction of abstract space — the fragmented, homogeneous and hierarchical space engendered by the state and capital’s domination of urban life. Abstract space is buttressed by what Lefebvre describes as a ‘logic of visualisation’,7 which flattens the depth of social reality to a readable surface while paradoxically rendering taken-for-granted spatial structures (such as roads and motorways) as invisible and beyond critique. In turn, abstract space is associated with an abstract and quantified social time, dependent on the preeminence of linear repetition over other rhythms of the city. The construction of freeways through the inner and middle-ring zones of the city cements an unrelenting, repetitious flow of high-speed traffic as the dominant rhythmic mode. It will be argued in this article that TransApex’s reproduction of abstracted space and time will impose an invisible set of spatio-temporal laws, structuring the transport choices and behaviour of Brisbane commuters into the future.8 Consequently, political strategies aimed at resisting the logic of abstract space-time must not only be concerned with the reappropriation of physical space, but must promote a reassertion of alternative rhythms of movement through space to that of the freeway-bound motor car.

Cars work to reproduce a mindset that ravages the environment by reproducing industrial time


Butler 2008 (Chris, Lecturer at Griffin Law School, “Slicing Through Space…” 17 Griffth L. Rev.)

Providing for the movement of people and things is an inevitable and increasingly important element of urban governance. Urban life in most Australian cities is physically structured around the requirements of the private motor vehicle, whose dominance has been largely assumed and supported by most transport planners and political actors. Historically, urban transport policies have focused on the public funding of large-scale road infrastructure, which has closely enmeshed urban governance within what John Urry describes as the ‘system of automobility’.9 This ‘system’ has helped to subordinate decision-making about land use, the built environment and landscape design to a complex web of industrial, technical and social linkages surrounding the production and consumption of automobiles and their environmental resource use. 10 There is perhaps no better demonstration of this system in action in Australia than in Southeast Queensland. During the 1960s and 1970s, state government departments associated with development decisions, road infrastructure and local government operated a highly discretionary model of decision-making, circumventing formal mechanisms of administrative transparency. This helped to fragment those parts of the state public sector concerned with land use management into a collection of client-servicing agencies for particular industry sectors. One obvious example is the way the Queensland Department of Main Roads, which has held overall responsibilities for major road infrastructure since the first half of the twentieth century, has wielded enormous influence over land use decision-making and the urban planning of Brisbane. It has regularly proposed large-scale technological solutions such as freeway developments to accommodate the ever-present problem of peak-hour traffic congestion, demarcating such projects from other aspects of land use planning. Between the late 1960s and early 1980s, a fertile source for many of the Department of Main Roads’ proposals was the Brisbane Transportation Study, released in 1965 by the engineering consultants Wilbur Smith and Associates. In addition to this report, the firm also secured appointments to draw up transport plans for Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart, ultimately playing an incredibly influential role in shaping the philosophical approach of public sector transport planners in Australia over the past four decades. 11 Reiterating Smith’s own views that a ‘modern, well-planned system of express-highways’ was the most appropriate model of transport for the dispersed suburbanised city, the firm’s recommendations for Brisbane were dominated by new freeways and expressways to link all areas of the Central Business District (CBD) to the freeway system. 12 The Brisbane Transportation Study proposed the construction of 80 miles of freeways, four expressways, five cross-river bridges, the replacement of trams and trolley buses with diesel buses and the removal of several comparatively lightly patronised segments of the existing urban rail network. 13 The tram and trolley-bus systems were abolished, but less than half of the infrastructure projects originally proposed were constructed. Nevertheless, the Wilbur Smith study’s approach to future road development across the city had a central influence on two generations of transport planning practitioners, and a number of its recommendations lay dormant within transport bureaucracies throughout the 1980s and 1990s. As a result, there have been several political campaigns to resist plans by the Department of Mains Roads that had their origins in the Brisbane Transportation Study. 14 Over the past five years, the TransApex suite of projects has emerged as a contemporary restatement of this tradition of brutalist modernism in transport planning, which recognises the construction of major roads as the only real solution for peak-hour congestion and long cross-town journey times. This transport plan replicates the pathway of a number of the recommendations of the 1965 report, while incorporating the use of tunnels to circumvent existing surface roads and supposedly minimise aesthetic disruption to the existing urban landscape. 15 Although the traffic will eventually have to emerge into the open air, the use of tunnels in the plan has been used rhetorically to emphasise the ‘invisibility’ of its component parts.

“Balance” Link

Rhetoric of transporatation “balance” masks the repdroduction of insidious urban planning philosophies


Butler 2008 (Chris, Lecturer at Griffin Law School, “Slicing Through Space…” 17 Griffth L. Rev.)

Council has presented TransApex in its planning documents as a complete ring road system that will form the backbone of a fully integrated orbital road network, while simultaneously contributing to a ‘balanced’ transport plan which integrates private motor vehicle usage with various modes of public transport, cycling and walking. 17 However, each project has been conceived as a discrete public–private partnership with individual timeframes and funding arrangements, so core elements of the overall plan are yet to be approved or financed. 18 This makes it difficult to assess the potential efficacy of the partial ring road that will be created through the currently approved components of TransApex. Equally questionable is council’s rhetorical commitment to ‘balance’ in transport planning, which has often been used in other Australian jurisdictions to mask a policy preference for road-building and public subsidisation of private car use. 19 Such a preference is apparent in the preliminary estimates of public sector expenditure in the Draft Transport Plan.20 16


Homogenization/Econ Link

Making commerce easier participates in the old rational planning model that recreates a spatial orer emphasizing top down dynamics


Scott 1998 (Professor of Political Science at Yale, Seeing Like a State )

The miniaturization imaginatively achieved by scale models of cities or landscapes was practically achieved with the airplane. The mapping tradition of the bird's-eye view, evident in the map of Chicago, was no longer a mere convention. By virtue of its great distance, an aerial view resolved what might have seemed ground-level confusion into an apparently vaster order and symmetry. It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of the airplane for modernist thought and planning. By offering a perspective that flattened the topography as if it were a can- vas, flight encouraged new aspirations to "synoptic vision, rational control, planning, and spatial order."14 A second point about an urban order easily legible from outside is that the grand plan of the ensemble has no necessary relationship to the order of life as it is experienced by its residents. Although certain state services may be more easily provided and distant addresses more easily located, these apparent advantages may be negated by such per- ceived disadvantages as the absence of a dense street life, the intrusion of hostile authorities, the loss of the spatial irregularities that foster co- ziness, gathering places for informal recreation, and neighborhood feeling. The formal order of a geometrically regular urban space is just that: formal order. Its visual regimentation has a ceremonial or ideo- logical quality, much like the order of a parade or a barracks. The fact that such order works for municipal and state authorities in adminis- tering the city is no guarantee that it works for citizens. Provisionally, then, we must remain agnostic about the relation between formal spa- tial order and social experience. The third notable aspect of homogeneous, geometrical, uniform property is its convenience as a standardized commodity for the mar- ket. Like Jefferson's scheme for surveying or the Torrens system for ti- tling open land, the grid creates regular lots and blocks that are ideal for buying and selling. Precisely because they are abstract units de- tached from any ecological or topographical reality, they resemble a kind of currency which is endlessly amenable to aggregation and frag- mentation. This feature of the grid plan suits equally the surveyor, the planner, and the real-estate speculator. Bureaucratic and commercial logic, in this instance, go hand in hand. As Mumford notes, "The beauty of this mechanical pattern, from the commercial standpoint, should be plain. This plan offers the engineer none of those special problems that irregular parcels and curved boundary lines present. An office boy could figure out the number of square feet involved in a street opening or in a sale of land: even a lawyer's clerk could write a description of the necessary deed of sale, merely by filling in with the proper dimensions the standard document. With a T-square and a triangle, finally, the mu- nicipal engineer could, without the slightest training as either an archi- tect or a sociologist, 'plan' a metropolis, with its standard lots, its stan- dard blocks, its standard width streets. . . . The very absence of more specific adaptation to landscape or to human purpose only increased, by its very indefiniteness, its general usefulness for e~change.

Central Transport

Erodes local rhtyhms and marginalizes the local


Scott 1998 (Professor of Political Science at Yale, Seeing Like a State p. 76)

This retrofitting of traffic patterns had enormous consequences, most of which were intended: linking provincial France and provincial French citizens to Paris and to the state and facilitating the deployment of troops from the capital to put down civil unrest in any department in the nation. It was aimed at achieving, for the military control of the na- tion, what Haussmann had achieved in the capital itself. It thus em- powered Paris and the state at the expense of the provinces, greatly af- fected the economics of location, expedited central fiscal and military control, and severed or weakened lateral cultural and economic ties by favoring hierarchical links. At a stroke, it marginalized outlying areas in the way that official French had marginalized local dialects.


Roads Link

Road products reproduce a speed fetish that participates in not state but societal capture by the rhythms of capitalism


Butler 2008 (Chris, Lecturer at Griffin Law School, “Slicing Through Space…” 17 Griffth L. Rev.)

Despite the obvious importance of the symbolic attachment to the car in Australia and its historically favoured position amongst planners and policymakers, these factors alone do not sufficiently explain the Brisbane City Council’s strident defence of TransApex. Indeed, its preparedness to engage in such a radical spatial assault on the city suggests a deeper logic at work — one which continues to exacerbate public anxieties over the imperative to reduce private commuting times, and has thwarted opposition to the TransApex model. One currently influential explanation of this logic is provided by Paul Virilio’s writings on the role of speed in the contemporary world. He argues that the single most important factor shaping social life and the institutions that govern it is the inexorable tendency towards ever-increasing speed — or, as he describes it, ‘dromology’. Generalised fears about the pace of everyday life, and consequential state interventions that moderate or enhance it are understood by Virilio as intrinsically ‘dromological’ elements of modernity.35 The concept of dromology provides a mechanism for investigating how the ‘relentless logic of speed has played a crucial part in the militarization of urban space, the organization of territory’ and current transformations of social, political and cultural life.36 Virilio has explored the impact of this logic on architecture, spatial planning, cinema and new forms of information technology.37 He most clearly depicts the degree to which dromological imperatives exercise control over the regulation of mobility in his book Speed and Politics, where he describes how the state confuses the governance of ‘social order with the control of traffic’. The State’s political power … is only secondarily ‘power organized by one class to oppress another’. More materially, it is the polis, the police, in other words highway surveillance, insofar as, since the dawn of the bourgeois revolution, the political discourse has been no more than a series of more or less conscious repetitions of the old communal poliorcetics, confusing social order with the control of traffic (of people, of goods), and revolution, revolt, with traffic jams, illegal parking, multiple crashes, collisions.38 The emergence of modernity is depicted by Virilio in terms of mobilisation and increasing speed in order to show that these developments have not resulted in the reality of freedom of movement. On the contrary, they have produced an ‘obligation to mobility’ or a ‘dictatorship of movement’ which places speed and the means to attain it at the centre of modern social and political life.39 Both personal desires for shorter travel times and state strategies for maximising the productivity of the working day coalesce in the spectral image of the clean, new road — an open space, free of obstructions. There is certainly much of value in Virilio’s account of how speed shapes social relations and forms of institutional governance. He draws attention to the ways in which movement through physical space is now measured in terms of the pace of increasingly rapid forms of technology and communication. The inner city itself is now identified not as the centre of urban life, but as an obstacle to the homogeneous flow of daily traffic. As Virilio describes it: The city is but a stopover, a point on the synoptic path of a trajectory, the ancient military glacis, ridge road, frontier or riverbank, where the spectator’s glance and the vehicle’s speed of displacement were instrumentally linked … (T)here is only habitable circulation.40

Roads constitute a rank violence against the urbanity of the city: capitalism’s homogenizing tendencies are pursued at all costs as the rhythms of transport for labor overtake the lifeworld


Butler 2008 (Chris, Lecturer at Griffin Law School, “Slicing Through Space…” 17 Griffth L. Rev.)

A key element in Lefebvre’s analysis of the production of space is his depiction of the dominant spatial formation of contemporary capitalism as ‘abstract space’ — a space structured by tendencies towards fragmentation, homogenisation and hierarchy.44 The fragmentary character of abstract space can be understood on a number of different levels. Private land ownership breaks the city up and segments it into discrete parcels, which can be bought and sold as commodities, while land use controls divide social space into zones that can be categorised and policed according to designated uses.45 Public infrastructure, such as road and freeway developments that allow traffic to pass through existing residential areas, also contribute to the physical fragmentation and segmentation of urban space. Recognising the inherent violence in the deployment of technology in this way, Lefebvre describes how the ‘motorway brutalizes the countryside and the land, slicing through space like a great knife’.46 While at the local level abstract space appears to be fractured, it also tends towards homogeneity, through the subjection of space to the market criteria of pure exchange and through the state’s attempts to impose coherence and unity to the various subsystems that operate within the city. This allows us to observe how infrastructure projects such as roads and freeways impose a form of invisible legality on urban space. Freeway developments in particular contribute to spatial homogenisation by extending similar road forms and elevated flyovers throughout the city and extending the capacity of the motor car to travel at uniform speeds, unimpeded by the interruptions of other traffic or pedestrians. [P]eople (the ‘inhabitants’) move about in a space which tends towards a geometric isotopy, full of instructions and signals, where qualitative differences of places and moments no longer matter.47 The public provision of transport infrastructure is deeply entwined with the dependence of everyday life in Australia’s dispersed suburbanised cities on a range of collectively consumed resources and systems. Given the cultural and functional importance of the private car in Australian life, forms of modernist transport planning such as that pursued in TransApex are clearly linked to an increasing commodification of space. Writing presciently in 1968, Lefebvre described how the city has been strategically assaulted by ‘the car — the current pilot-object in the world of commodities’.48 This assault has only been able to succeed through the adherence of state decision-makers to an ideological representation of the city as ‘a network of circulation and communication’, thereby facilitating the permanent movement of vehicular traffic at almost any cost.49


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