Valuing mobility in a post COVID-19 world

This academic article published in the journal Mobilities, reflects on the value of mobility and how this might be affected by the current pandemic, and consequent lockdowns and travel bans.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

This article highlights how historically, mobility has often been negatively valued, either because it was associated to illnesses (flu, polio, AIDS, etc.), or also because it has contributed to global warming and climate change.

It explains that COVID-19 has placed positive value on some mobilities, those that are local and that involve active travel, that is, mobilities that take place by foot or bike. It has also placed valued on commuting, as this has come to be sometimes recognised as quality individual time, rather than ‘dead’ time. However, positive value has not been associated to long distance mobility and therefore COVID-19 can contribute to pathologizing mobility, posing the danger of a retreat into a sedentarist mode of thinking and acting.

This piece of work suggests that a way of thinking about value in mobility could be away from economic value into qualitative excess of pleasure, joy, and opportunity that arise from the ways we move.