Remembering John Urry

Remembering John Urry

Dear all,

This is by far the worst email that ever went through this mailing list. As you have heard already our highly esteemed colleague, friend and mentor John Urry passed away last Friday the 18th of March. We are still shocked, saddened and somehow paralyzed by this news. We knew John as a highly dynamic person, agile and full of plans, projects and books for another 70 years of his lifespan.

Without any exaggeration Cosmobilities wouldn’t exist without John Urry’s scientific work but also his incredible capacities of building networks, maintaining friendships, social relations in general and initiating collaboration, research, publications, conferences and so forth. His decent character, wonderful sense of humor and his brilliant mind turned work meetings, scientific discussions, writing and even organisational work into a joyful activity.

To be honest, we do not have the right words to express what a loss he is for us – personally, for the network, the scientific community and the future of mobilities research. But trust us it is a great and very sad loss.
We and the whole board of the Cosmobilities Network send our deepest and warmest condolences to his family and close friends.

Next week at the AAG in San Francisco we wanted to celebrate the launch of a new journal – Applied Mobilities – with him. We will do this anyway, this all the more because he would have hated it not to happen, because of him. And also, because this is the way how we as scientists can give him all the honor and the appreciation that he deserves. Also this journal is standing on his shoulders! And again, we do not exaggerate at all. We will miss him there a lot and in the future and John will be very present when we will raise the glasses next week.

Malene and Sven


The Future of Mobilities Studies? Insights from Caserta

The Future of Mobilities Studies? Insights from Caserta

By Katharine Manderscheid and Anna Lipphart

As mobility scholars and board member of Cosmobilities Network (Katharina Manderscheid) and T2 (Anna Lipphardt, who is also a member of the EASA AnthroMob Network), we have been engaged over the past years in intense conversations with each other on the differences, the common ground and the potential synergies between the three research networks. The joint conference in Caserta (September 2015) provided a great opportunity to open up this conversation by initiating a broader cross-disciplinary and inter-generational discussion on visions, questions and suggestions for the future development of the interdisciplinary field of Mobilities Studies.

In this T2M newsletter we have written a short note about their insights from the Open Space Session conversations on the future directions of the mobilities studies

Photographer: Dorte Fjalland (

Photographer: Dorte Fjalland (


8 PhD Opportunities in Mobilities

8 PhD Opportunities in Mobilities

Mobil.LAB doctoral research group in Munich, Germany, are looking for 8 new PhD Fellows:

8 PhD oppotunities

Download mobil-LAB fellowships 2016


Picture above – Photographer: Dorte Fjalland (

Call for papers / 12th Cosmobilities Network Conference

Call for papers / 12th Cosmobilities Network Conference

Sharing Mobilities – New perspectives for societies on the move?

30. november – 2. december 2016, Stuttgart/Bad Boll

Keynotes: Bridgette Wessels (University of Sheffield), Tim Cresswell (Northeastern University, Boston), Philipp Rode (London School of Economics)

Fishbowl session: Invited speakers from mobility industry and academies engage with conference participants in a lively moderated discussion.

The mobility world is massively changing. New policies, new modes of transport and new socio-spatial practices of mobilities are on the rise. Jeremy Rifkin saw this clearly in 2000. In his bestseller ‘The Age of Access’ he says the future of modern societies will no longer be solely organized through individual property and ownership. Rathr, new collaborative forms of consumption and sharing would play a key role in the organization of everyday life and business.

In fact, new cultures of sharing and participation are emerging: people share cars, bikes, houses, expertise and mastery in science and craftsmen’s work etc. Once radical visions have become part of the lingering but steady transformation of norms, procedures, routines and capitalist principles. A burgeoning political awareness can be witnessed in cities, regions, in mobilities research, planning, politics, business and civil society. Even global car producers become part of the new sharing culture and seriously consider themselves as selling mobility instead of cars within two decades.

Where does tis social change come from? Why is this an appealing idea? Can we expect a new mobility regime, growing markets for sharing mobilities? Or is this just a new fashion, greenwashing? Does it provide the access that Rifkin was foreseeing, with more equality, even sustainable mobilities or is it just a new fashion – greeenwashing?

For the Cosmobilities Network, the biggest European mobility research network, it is about time for a critical scientific investigation. Therefore, the 12th Cosmobilities Conference invites contributions to the following questions:

  • What are the social, ecological, cultural and aesthetic dimensions that generate this resonance of ‘sharing mobilities’?
  • Are we observing the birth of a culture of multi-mobility, of changing (auto)motive emotions and of sustainable mobilities?
  • What are the socio-political implications of a new mobility culture?
  • Is the hype on sharing mobilities just an expression of the pursuit of big business, the next phase of capitalist development?
  • Are new mobilities arising as a ‘common good’? Or as a social and cultural resource in a cosmopolitan world full of social, ecological, economic and cultural risks?
  • What does ‘sharing mobilities’ mean against the background of global migration and touristic flows and what is the impact on networked urban mobilities?


The 12th Cosmobilities Network conference invites contributions looking at the social, cultural, spatial, ecological and socio-economic consequences of new sharing concepts. Papers and contributions elaborating aspects of related risks, chances, utopias and dystopias are welcomed in particular.

Cosmobilities encourages scholars and practitioners to present and discuss theoretical, conceptual, empirical and applied work and perspectives on the past, present and future of sharing mobilities.

Cosmobilities conferences aim for creating inspiring, creative and thought-provoking environments. The majority of sessions will foster exchange and discussion. Therefore, we especially encourage participants to submit abstracts for the 7/7 and the panel sessions.

7/7 sessions

This means seven presenters, seven slides, and seven minutes for each presentation. The sessions will have two-hour slots, leaving at least one hour for common discussion. Presenters shall focus on their main argument in order to avoid overly-complex presentations. They shall initiate discussion and they are not expected to be comprehensive.

The organizing committee, based on submissions, will select only the best submissions.

Panel sessions

Panel sessions have a maximum of five presenters. Each gives a five minutes focused input to the panel topic. Panel sessions will also be organized in two-hour slots. Abstracts should include the names of all panelists.

Paper sessions

Each presenter has 20 minutes; each session includes four presenters maximum. The organizing committee, based on submissions, will plan these sessions.

Please, submit your abstract of no more than 300 words no later than May 1st 2016 to



Malene Freudendal-Pedersen (Roskilde University, DK),

Sven Kesselring (Nuertingen-Geislingen University, G),


Conference post address:

Dr Sven Kesselring

Research professor in sustainable mobilities

Nuertingen-Geislingen University

Park str. 4, room 012

73312 Geislingen

phon tel: +49.733 22525



Scientific Committee

Weert Canzler (Berlin)

Helen Carter (Aalborg)

Malene Freudendal-Pedersen (Roskilde)

Kevin Hannam (Edinburgh)

Sven Kesselring (Geislingen)

Katharina Manderscheid (Lucerne)

Robert Nadler (Leipzig)

Justin Spinney (Cardiff)

Chelsea Tschoerner (Geislingen)


Organizing committee

Sven Kesselring (Geislingen)

Malene Freudendal-Pedersen (Roskilde)

Chelsea Tschoerner (Geislingen)

Emmy Laura Perez Fjalland (Roskilde)

Katrine Hartmann-Petersen (Roskilde)

Helen Carter (Aalborg)


Photo credit: Dorte Fjalland (

Watch John Urry’s keynote, Networks, Systems and Futures

Watch John Urry’s keynote, Networks, Systems and Futures

John Urry, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, closed the Networked Urban Mobilities conference with a talk providing perspectives of past and future systemic changes in energy use. Drawing on complexity and systems theory the talk provides a deep theoretical understanding of complex relations between social practices and energy consumption. Additionally, the talk addresses critical issues concerning lock-ins in ‘high-carbon societies’ and the wicked problems that follows. Finally, Urry presents four urban futures and examines the transformations in mobility and social life that each scenario entails.

Read about John Urry’s experience at the Networked Urban Mobilities conference below the video.

We sat down with John Urry for a quick talk about his experience of the Networked Urban Mobilities conference.

Oskar Funk: What will you take with you from this conference?

Well, I supposed would be the contrast with the first mobility conference in 2004 that I and handful of other people here were at. That was quite formed around Ulrich Beck and “Risk Society”, mobility and risk society. What there hadn’t been was a program of research with these various kinds of mobility methods, mobile methods, not much theory and not much detailed examination of the kinds of processes, roots, forms, consequences of mobility on the go.

Oskar Funk: So it was still a very static kind of science back then?

Yes, it was static, sort of. The main thing that was research were risks and to some extent systems, but the systems were transport systems, so there hadn’t been so much of the shift from transport to mobility really. I don’t think we were as clear about that distinction as we are now.

Oskar Funk: Were there any things that caught you by surprise at this conference, as someone who has been in the mobilities studies for a long time?

(Laughs) Well, I didn’t actually attend the sessions, but the general area of disasters. I know about it, but I think it is still interesting that people see mobilities and the complex organizing and orchestrating of mobilities in disasters. I think that is interesting. I have been interested in that in the last year or two, and I think that it is well reflected in some of the papers here. I suppose the second thing was Vincents (Kaufmann) stuff about the car and the decline, and his argument about that, which I don’t quite agree with, but it is becoming much more clearly accepted that the increase in car use in western countries has almost certainly stopped, and it may have reversed. It’s interesting that people didn’t really challenge what Vincent said, they challenged the specific theory, the processes that he referred to, but I thought that was interesting.

Oskar Funk: You have worked with many different concepts and topics. From beyond the car, to offshoring and now post-carbon societies. It seems like there is always a new dimension opening up, so what new directions do you see the mobilities paradigm taking?

Personally I get bored with topics you see, so I have to move on (laughs). Well… Maybe one thing that was missing here was actually China, India and Brazil, the BRIC countries. Because clearly, what happens in those countries and societies is going to be so significant. I think there is going to be much more analysis and examination of similarities and differences between them. That also relates us to the question of the situations and the developments that has to do with futures I suppose, the whole array of future studies. I think that is going to be more significant, and doing it in a way that is more than extrapolation, in a way where the social is a core part. Also, the topic of verticality, (The subject of Stephen Grahams keynote) was very interesting. Vertical cities, vertical mobilities and the way that effects urban design and so on.