RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2013

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43 Space-time knowledge in social networks: a new paradigm for transport geography? (2) Workshop
Affiliation Transport Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Janet Dickinson (Bournemouth University, UK)
Chris Speed (The University of Edinburgh, UK)
Chair(s) Chris Speed (The University of Edinburgh, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 28 August 2013, Session 2 (11:10 - 12:50)
Room Skempton Building, Room 060b
Session abstract Rapid developments in mobile technology together with widespread public adoption have brought about new socio-technological practices with implications for transport geography. Much has been said about the decoupling of the links between activity, place and time, and the re-negotiated scheduling of meetings on the go. There have been claims within geography and sociology that this changes everything. However, relatively little work has been conducted in the field of transport geography, yet this is an area possibly most impacted and most subject to change due to new space-time practices that alter our understanding of the movement of people and objects. For example, real-time systems, based around the ubiquity of mobile devices, can visualise the position of users relative to other people in their social network, places, transport resources (buses, cars, cycles) and even the things they need. Ideas around the Internet of things are extending these capabilities beyond people to communication and knowledge generation by moving objects such as cars. Transport geographers are well placed to exploit emergent socio-technological practice to develop solutions to a variety of transport problems, be that access for the ageing population or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

This session aims to bring together researchers to explore how transport geography might be changing and whether there is a new paradigm. Papers address questions related to what has changed, what might change or whether the impact is really minimal. Papers address a variety of issues including: practice based research; conceptual and theoretical issues; new solutions to transport problems; social networks and community; and new socio-technological practices.

While the session includes contributions in the traditional paper format, it also includes audience engagement through a demo activity and discussion.
Linked Sessions Space-time knowledge in social networks: a new paradigm for transport geography? (1)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2013@rgs.org
Space-time knowledge in social networks: a collaborative travel app workshop
Janet Dickinson (Bournemouth University, UK)
Viachaslau Filimonau (Bournemouth University, UK)
Chris Speed (The University of Edinburgh, UK)
Social networks that are rooted in physical locations, such as village or school communities, evolve distinctive space-time patterns of physical movement. These space-time patterns include shared, recursive pathways where the routines of the population coincide and result in distinctive rhythmic patterns of place. While individuals are aware their pathways coincide with others, until recently it was hard to visualise the presence of others in a social network in any meaningful way. Mobile social networking provides a new substrate to understand the travel patterns of communities.

This workshop will loan smartphones to participants and embed them in a temporary social network to experiment with a collaborative travel app. The Sixth Sense Transport app, designed for a campsite community, gives people a sense of being in time by enabling users to follow the collective physical traces of other users in the past, present and, based on space-time memories, into the future. This enables users to make sense of network movements so they can reflect on their place in the social network across space and time. Workshop participants will be set travel tasks based on the collection of objects around RGS conference venues. This replicates a shopping trip activity and demonstrates how an awareness of others within a social network might create opportunities for collaboration and reduce the need for car trips. Following the activity we will re-convene to discuss how this and the findings of other papers presented in the session may be evolving new perspectives for transport geography.