Vassar College Digital Library
This thesis investigates how right to the city conflicts regarding the (de)construction of bicycle lanes in Brooklyn, New York affect the development of a more environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive city. Through an examination of two particular cases – those of Bedford Avenue in 2008 and Prospect Park West in 2010 – I show how conflicts over the physical space of bicycle lanes always embody larger, competing notions of community, civility, and (dis)order. Moreover, the construction, publicization, and mediation of these conflicting rights to the city additionally provide important insights regarding the direction of sustainability in New York City today, as well as the functioning of the state under Mayor Bloomberg's administration. In light of these findings, and embedded within the context of anthropogenic climate change and neoliberal economic pressure, I argue that our efforts to create more sustainable and inclusive cities must begin with a more sensitive understanding of the material and symbolic effects that these different rights to the city produce. I also introduce a theoretical distinction between what I term <em>rights to place </em>and <em>rights to mobility</em>.
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