Alternative denaturalizes central highway planning: key mode and mechanism of resistance; this evidence also answers their sq inevitability args
Butler 2008 (Chris, Lecturer at Griffin Law School, “Slicing Through Space…” 17 Griffth L. Rev.)
The TransApex plan is radical in its scope, but philosophically represents the return with a vengeance of a well-worn version of modernist transport planning. Despite the various criticisms of the plan’s contribution to entrenching private motor vehicle usage and the financial model on which it is based, it appears that the decisive conservative victory in recent local authority elections signals ‘full steam ahead’ for the planning and construction of its currently approved components.70 This article has employed Lefebvre’s account of abstract space and its attendant social rhythms to critique the forms of thinking underpinning TransApex. It has been argued that this set of projects can be conceptualised in Lefebvrean terms as contributing to the reproduction of abstract space. In turn, this space is associated with an abstract and quantified social time that effectively dominates and marginalises other rhythms of the city. Despite the physical visibility of this set of infrastructure projects, they will also reinforce an invisible set of spatio-temporal laws, structuring the transport choices and behaviour of future generations of travellers. Virilio accurately pinpoints how the endlessly increasing levels of speed in contemporary life play an important part in naturalising this abstracted space-time. But it must also be remembered that the forms and structures of urban space are constantly open to contestation by those wishing to use space in ways which run counter to currently dominant uses. Accordingly, the spatio-temporal order prescribed by transport projects such as TransApex are inevitably subject to political challenge by alternative conceptualisations of the movement of people and things within contemporary cities. Any challenge to this set of spatio-temporal laws that coerces travellers into the system of automobility will require the concretisation of new social norms relating to mobility. Such a legal, political and cultural shift will involve vastly increased levels of public transport and safer opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians to ‘reclaim the streets’ and generate different social rhythms to those imposed by the speeding ‘steel and petroleum car’. In the short term, this will necessitate frequent, regular and coordinated feeder connections to busway and railway stations from neighbouring suburbs. Incredibly, Brisbane residents are still waiting for adequate services of this type almost four decades after they were recommended by the Wilbur Smith Public Transport Study. 71 It will also be imperative that public transport authorities remove time restrictions on carrying bicycles on trains, provide bicycle racks on all buses and fund major end-of-trip facilities for cyclists and pedestrians in all major workplaces. Taken in isolation, these proposals appear to be simply a moderate plea for plural forms of mobility. However challenging it may be, the hegemony of the system of automobility will also require profound social changes incorporating reconfigurations of both the built environment and currently dominant forms of social time. A crucial step in this direction is to denaturalise freeway development as an inevitable consequence of progress in a modern, technological society. Linked to this is the need to render visible the hidden but coercive spatio-temporal order that modernist transport plans such as TransApex impose on the city. As the source of an alternative legality of urban movement, Lefebvre’s social theory holds out the tantalising hope for the emergence of a differential space-time, undermining the dominance of abstract space and its quantified social time, and replacing the logic of visualisation with a more balanced relationship between the travelling body and its rhythms in space. This is obviously an immense political project in Brisbane’s current transport planning context. It will demand much more than isolated local resistance against particular components of the TransApex plan. As Lefebvre’s work makes clear, all successful strategies of political transformation require activists to produce new spaces and assert alternative social rhythms. 72 Unless those engaged in struggles against the blinkered vision and negative consequences of modernist transport planning take such strategic questions seriously, the prospects for a different model of urban mobility will recede even further down the road.
Alt interrupts and solves time
Kipfer Siederi and Wieditz 2012 (Associate prof of polisci at York University, “Henri Lefebvre: Debates and Controversies” in Progress in Human Geography
Given the place of the urban in Lefebvre’s philosophy and politics, it is no surprise that his understanding of the urban and space is infused with time and history. His work does in fact justify arguments for a spatial turn of social theory (Soja, 1989), but this turn should not be conceived in ontological terms. As Lefebvre (1991b: 96) has it, ‘time may have been promoted to the level of ontology of the philosopher, but it has been murdered by society’. Since the production of abstract space is itself implicated in this death of time (its reduction to a linear succession of instants), it is imperative that ‘space’ be de-reified in the same way Marx proposed to do for the commodity: by treating spatial form not only as a powerful social force but also as a product of – necessarily temporal – processes, strategies, and projects. In turn, Lefebvre suggests that contradictions of space in the late 20th century – those between abstract and differential space – are simultaneously tensions between the linear and cyclical temporalities which inhere in everyday life. As students of Lefebvre’s (2004) rhythmanalytic approach to everyday life have pointed out (Edensor, 2010; Gardiner, 2000; Highmore, 2005; Loftus, 2012), the insight about the intimate relationship between time and space is crucial to grasp his relevance for research on the body (less as effect and more as producer of time/space) and the contradictory rhythms that shape political ecologies in our urbanizing world. In this view, socialism appears as a fundamental transformation of neocolonial capitalism’s time-space, not as a redistributive and socially more just reorientation of otherwise unchanged forces and relations of production.