Call for Papers: Changes in Urban Mobilities and their Environmental Consequences: Russia, Germany and Beyond (19th – 21st Cent.)

Bewerbungsschluss: 21. August 2020

Date and Venue:

2 December 2020, Moscow, German Historical Institute Moscow

This one-day workshop will take place in the framework of the two days’ Science Forum “Sustainable Mobility. Urban Planning. Climate Change” (1-2 December), supported by the German Embassy in Moscow and co-organised by the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Moscow and the German Historical Institute Moscow, in cooperation with the Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU).

Since the end of the 19th century, the introduction of new means of transport – cars, bicycles, electric tramways and underground trains – has substantially altered cityscapes and urban infrastructures both in Russia, Germany and elsewhere. From the beginning, their various environmental consequences were an issue for the informed public, at subsequent stages for city planners and environmentalists too. In this science forum we seek to explore the ways these environmental consequences have been discussed as well as the development of approaches for dealing with them at various levels (urban planning and infrastructures, technical innovations, behavioural psychology, and other ways of influencing the mobility behaviour of citizens). What changes and turning points in this regard can be observed over time? When did the ecological consequences of modern urban traffic appear on the agenda of city administrations, to be dealt with by the public authorities? Since when – and to what extent – has car transport come to be regarded as a substantial ecological problem in cities, and what ways for dealing with this problem have been discussed and adopted at various times? How have bicycles and public transport developed since the early 20th century, and since when – and where – was their furthering related to an environmental agenda? When did the notion of “sustainable mobility” appear?

While the workshop is particularly interested in historical developments and discussions in urban centres in Russia and the Soviet Union on the one hand and the German states on the other, comparisons with developments in cities in other countries are also welcome.

We welcome contributions notably on (while not limited to):

  • the introduction and development of new urban means of transport in a historical perspective
  • changing perceptions, discourses and discussions on their various environmental consequences (dirt; pollution; noise; damage to health, infrastructure and nature; greenhouse gases; traffic accidents) – or their contributions for reducing these phenomena)
  • the development of approaches for dealing with these consequences at various levels, notably in the realm of urban/ traffic planning and policy and the variety of tools available.

Paper proposals (max. 300 words) and short CVs should be sent by 21 August 2020 to Benjamin Beuerle: benjamin.beuerle[at] Participants will be asked to pre-circulate written papers (3500 words) one month before the workshop. Travel costs and accommodation will be taken charge of by the organizers.

All information about the event can be found here.