Gendered and racialized behavior in bicycle planning organizations

Authors: Rebecca Van Stokkum*, University of California - Davis, Sarah McCullough, UC Davis, Feminist Research Institute
Topics: Gender, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: bicycling, infrastructure, social norms, organizations
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: 8223, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Bicycle infrastructure projects are often associated with high status or gentrifying areas in historically diverse neighborhoods. Although there has been a rise in research on gender and bicycling over the past decade, with few exceptions race remains almost unstudied in bicycle literature. At the same time, little research exists on race and gender identity in relation to organizational level planning and advocacy for bicycle infrastructure. In response, this paper expands Linda Mc Dowell’s (1983; 2001) novel definition of patriarchy. Mc Dowell defines the term as temporally and spatially specific gendered interactions producing urban process and form. This definition can also be applied to race and is used here to examine organizational behaviors associated with bicycle advocacy. According to a cross disciplinary review of bicycle literature, underlying gendered and racialized advocacy behaviors follow structural patterns in space and time ultimately affecting bicycle infrastructure distribution (urban form). Bicycle literature indicates that racialized and gendered organizing behavior creates scale for organizations and groups by channeling effort based on their status. Because of this feminized group-oriented (socially reproductive) low status behaviors or masculinized individualistic high status behavior are channeled toward different scales of government. The literature reviewed here shows evidence of resulting inequitable infrastructure project distribution based on structuring effects related to these underlying, often socially hidden racialized and gendered behaviors.

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