Critical mass, urban space and vélomobility

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93 Scopus citations


Critical Mass is an international, monthly event where bicyclists briefly take over city streets to celebrate bicycling, demonstrate their collective strength and send a clear message to the public: 'We are not blocking traffic, we are traffic!' In this essay, I explore how Critical Mass functions as both a performative critique of motorized space and a critical response to automobility. Rather than offering an empirical account of Critical Mass, I discuss the politics of Critical Mass through the lens of the Situationist International, or situationists - a group of avant-garde artists and architects that developed a unique program of spatial politics in the 1950s. Using the situationists as a reference point, I also explain how Critical Mass impacts the progress of formal bicycle advocacy and I contextualize vélomobility within a paradigm of utopian urbanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-319
Number of pages21
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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